Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dealing With On Ice Issues

I'm writing this during the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary. During a game last evening (03.02.15), there was an "incident" on the ice that I feel is worthy of note. Here's what happened.

During the game, a player from Team A, as part of his delivery, when coming to a stop, tended to place a knee on the ice surface. Apparently a member of Team B, noting this, as diplomatically as possible, mentioned this to Team B. When it happened subsequently, a member of Team B, using his brush, indicated to the offending member of Team A about the issue.

At the time of this writing, again apparently, Team A has lodged something of a protest over the incident involving the member of Team B who used his brush to draw attention to the placing of the knee on the ice surface. Here's the way this should have been handled by both parties in my view.

No one should place hands or knees on the ice surface. It really can have an adverse affect on the ice which affects all players so that member of Team A, had he not placed his knee on the ice, nothing would have occurred in the first place! Team B, noting the infraction, and it IS a rule infraction*, had two options. If what Team A did was not of immediate concern, during the end change over, the Team B coach should have been informed and the coach should have taken the responsibility of dealing with the issue. If what happens on the ice is of immediate concern, there is a signal to the officials that their presence is required and the signal is with crossed forearms. All clocks will be stopped and an official will intervene. When the official's intervention has been completed, the matter is over, full stop!

On that note, I would hope that in an officiated event, in the "team meeting" prior to the start of the competition, the head official would state that hands and/or knees on the ice will not be tolerated and that offending parties will be told, during the game to cease and desist from that practice!

The point of all this is "distractions"! Distractions are among biggest enemys of performance and distractions can come in many forms not the least of wish is a breakdown in on ice communication, something about which I have written extensively. But when it's something of an unforeseen distraction, such as the one described here, the last thing a team wants to happen is for the incident, be in intentional or unintentional, to not cause a distraction. The team who feels offended needs to "park it" and the method I've described I feel is the best way to do that.

What gets tricky is when the game is in an environment without officials. In that case, the offended team has only two choices, forget it or take the chance to express its concern to the other team. I can't sit here to tell the non-offending team which is better in a given circumstance but choose your option wisely so that it minimizes any distraction(s) to your team!

* R.10 a) No player shall cause damage to the ice surface by means of equipment, hand prints or body prints...