Scenario: Jammer stops skating due to broken skate. Remains on the track

The type of malfunction I’m referring to is a broken truck or maybe it just came out of the pivot cup. Something that can’t be resolved during a jam.

I’ve seen/experienced a broken skate happening to a jammer. I’ve always seen the jammer stay on their skates in order to hopefully pass the star to the pivot to keep a jammer on the track for their team.

How would you handle it if the jammer sits down on the track and does not proceed to try to get through the pack or pass the star?

Does it get called off for safety due to malfunction? Does the jammer get a penalty for staying “down”? Would you as a ref direct the jammer to leave the track due to safety concerns? If directed off the track, would the jam end since one team cannot field a jammer?

In general if someone’s down I’d first be sure of why – to be sure they’re not injured (then I’d call the jam). If I couldn’t tell, I’d issue a warning for maintaining an unblockable position (just like we do for “out of play”) and then a penalty (failure to return, basically). But if I could ascertain that the broken skate was the reason I’d probably say “stand or remove yourself from the track” as the warning.

Broken skates aren’t a reason to call a jam, so a skater who refuses to leave the track and remains a hazard would force the jam to be called; in that latter case I’d also issue an interference penalty to the skater for getting the jam called illegally.

But I would definitely warn them / instruct them to leave the track as soon as possible. In terms of, when has their illegal position caused impact, at that point it’s too late.

Yes, there was no injury.

Thank you for your well described reply!

Another perspective.

I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer here. It’s very situational with a lot of things to consider.

A broken skate can be sufficient cause to call off a jam. If there are broken pieces creating a trip hazard, we should treat it like any other debris on track.

Maybe a skater can get to the sidelines safely, maybe they can’t. I’ve seen both.

Situation A: The Jammer realizes their skate is broken. They continue skating to attempt a star pass. They seem to be sufficiently in control to not be a danger to themselves or others. Then the Pivot gets a penalty. The Jammer clearly chooses to take knee and claim that their skate is now too broken to continue.

I would follow Muffin’s direction above. The skater was “fine” until there was a strategic reason for them not to be.

Situation B: The Jammer realizes their skate is broken. They attempt to continue, but fall pretty quickly. They try to get up and fall again. They look up at the referee and communicate that they can’t get up safely.

I think the jam should be called off, and the skater should not be penalized. They weren’t trying to manipulate the rules. They were down and unable to get back up. We shouldn’t force them to crawl off the track during active gameplay or penalize them for not doing so.


Without splitting too fine of a hair, I agree with Ump that there’s a difference between someone who “can’t” get up or off the track, and someone who “won’t.” But I think almost everyone can scoot themself off the track even if they can’t stand. But it might not be safe to do so. In those cases (or if there’s skate parts on the track that are a danger to others), I’d call the jam, and I wouldn’t issue a penalty.

However, in that case, I would require that skater to sit for three jams just as if they had gotten the jam called due to their injury. Broken skate isn’t your “fault” but a jam ending like this is still massively impactful on the game.

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I don’t think sitting for three jams for an equipment malfunction without a penalty is supported by the rules.

They tell us that a skater has to sit for three jams in two cases:

  • If their INJURY alters the flow of the game. (Section 1.2)
  • If they are unable to sit for a PENALTY for any reason, including injury or equipment malfunction. (Section 4.4)

However, nothing tells us that an equipment malfunction WITHOUT a penalty should cause a skater to sit for three jams. This might be a good thing to consider adding, but it’s not in there now.

I agree that this is a stretch. I’ll try to show my work.

In the phrase, “A Skater whose injury alters the flow of the game” has two parts – the impact (alters the flow of the game) and the cause (an injury). Other reasons that alter the flow of the game outside of the “allowed” items in the ruleset (call-off or 2min), have the same impact. So discretion here is, they should have the same in-game result.

Thinking of other reasons a jam might end, there is rarely an individual involved. Blackout, squid on the track, etc., cannot be attributed to a person.

Thinking to prior conversations about this, the existing rule at first blush seems to punish people for having injuries, which is bonkers – but that’s not what the intent is. The intent is to disincentivize getting the jam called when that can be avoided. Which is the same in the case of an equipment failure.

I agree that the same logic would support CHANGING the rules to add a three jam delay if an interruption in game flow can be attributed to a single skater. (for ANY reason, including injury or equipment failure) This would serve the intended purpose of disincentivizing shenanigans.

However, the rules do NOT say that now, and requiring someone to sit under the current ruleset would be making up a rule that does not actually exist.

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Just as there is no rule that mandates a skater to sit for three jams in this scenario, there is also no rule that prohibits it. The ruleset gives us a tool to use in “weird jam-call situations,” and an example of when to apply it (injuries), which to me gives officials discretion for similar scenarios with similar impact.

It is important not to mistake “nothing says we can do this” to mean that it is prohibited, any more than mistaking “nothing says we can’t do this” to mean it is allowed.

Unsurprisingly, I emphatically disagree. If the rules do not give us the authority to impose a consequence, we do not have that authority.

The rules are voted upon by the membership, and as officials we don’t get to make up rules that we feel ought to exist and bypass that process.

Nothing in the rules says I CAN’T issue a penalty for ugly skates. But I absolutely cannot do that, because I have not been granted the authority to do so.

There IS a difference between “nothing says we can’t do this, so we can” and “nothing says we can do this, so we can’t.” The latter is the proper use of restraint in a democracy, the former is assuming an authority we don’t have.


I also think that there is a difference between “nothing says we can’t do this, so we can” and “nothing says we can do this, so we can’t”.

To the topic at hand, the “Follow-Up” bit of C4.4.A does, I believe, give us latitude to request that the skater does not skate for the next three jams.


Jammer had an untied skate at NA regionals and hr called the jam dead and then made the skater sit for 3. Funnily enough, same day this was posted

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