Boo’s Blog: Just when you figured out how to watch roller derby…

…they go and change the rules.

It’s true. The rules… they are a changin’. Why? It’s not to torture the fans or the players or the officials. It’s because WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) listened. Each year they do a survey of skaters, officials, volunteers and fans. Based on those responses, WFTDA made adjustments. So when you come to watch our juniors or our home teams play, here’s some of the changes you might recognize:

  • “Major” has been dropped. WFTDA has removed the word “major” at the end of the officials calling a penalty, sending a player to the penalty box and it has been removed from the written rules as well.
  • Official Reviews. Each team gets 1 official review per period. If during a review the team’s first official review the head ref determines an error was made by the officiating crew, the team will retain their official review.
  • Photo by Chris Kalisiak
    Photo by Chris Kalisiak
    Passing the Star. This used to be called a “panty pass” – it’s when the jammer (player with the star on their helmet) passes that cover to the pivot (blocker with the stripe on their helmet). Thus passing the jammer position to a new player and making the previous jammer a blocker for the remainder of the jam. These passes have to happen within the engagement zone (20 feet of the pack) – but no longer does the new jammer have to put the star on their helmet within the engagement zone. They can put the star on anywhere on the track. But if that cover falls to the ground, only the jammer and pivot can pick it up. The pass must be legal and if a penalty is received during the pass, the player serves the penalty as their position prior to the pass.
  • False Start and Yielding. If a blocker false starts, they now must yield to all skaters within proximity – giving up their relative position on the track. All blockers must start between the pivot and jammer lines and jammers can start anywhere on the track behind the jammer line but in front of the pivot line going in derby direction.
  • Multiplayer Blocks. Linking with a teammate that does not allow an opponent to get through. Linking is interlocking two arms via crooked elbows; both skaters’ arms, up to but not including the shoulder. Linking also includes grasping onto a uniform or body part.
  • Flopping/Diving. If a skater intentionally goes to a downed position to draw a penalty on an opponent, they will receive a misconduct penalty.
  • 30-second Penalties. Penalties are now reduced from 1 minute to 30-seconds served in the penalty box.

Photo by Jim Bush
Photo by Jim Bush
If you’d like to read about the changes that went into affect as of April 1, 2014 – click here! There you will find a summary document that lists the old rules (if applicable) along side the new rules.

If you’re wondering why WFTDA made these changes, it’s because they listen to fans and skaters. Fans and skaters said they wanted a faster game and that means keeping the game to move forward in derby direction. The shorter penalties will keep the game at a quicker pace too – but it could also mean that players could foul out easier too … or not. If you want to see how these rule changes are going to affect game play, make sure you click over to the events section of our website to get your tickets for our upcoming bout.

And be sure to follow QCRG on Facebook so you will know when WFTDA is doing their next survey. Then you can take it, because WFTDA wants to hear from all derby fans, players and volunteers. Your words will be heard, so make sure you take some time to share them.

See you at the rink!

~Boo D. Bloxx