We have had some discussions about barging this week and a request for Chief Ref Angus’ definition was made so read on…
Scenario One: Someone deftly carries the puck under their body and spears into their opposition like skittles.
This one is pretty cut and dried. I hear discussions about the defender has to be stationary (I’m built like a Collins Class sub, if I start moving, it takes on average 3 nautical miles to pull me up), they have to make position first etc. Not relevant. The key here is whether the person in possession of the puck tucks up like iron man and proceeds to clear the decks at Mach 2. They cannot impede the defenders ability to get to the puck by actively using their body. It is at the very least an obstruction, and with the head down and hooves thumping, a barge as well. Also – the defender DOES need to be primarily in front of the person with the puck. If they are alongside and just reaching in – tough.
Scenario Two: The carefully placed body part “accidentally” impeding the player in possession as they sprint for the goal
If you are chasing someone with the puck – don’t touch them at ALL while chasing!!! The old dropped knee onto the shoulder in a melee, or the dropped body on the breakaway, or a braced arm along the wall. I won’t mention any more, as it just gives you all too much to work with, and the refs a continuous nightmare.
So what’s the problem here? The key word is accidental, because it is the difference between a 2 minute rest, or just an infringement. In all cases the sprinter has been impeded, and therefore wronged. Once the Ref decides you are slowing them down with ANY body contact – even if you are now TOUCHING the puck with your stick, they should be playing the advantage for the defender, because you ARE obstructing them!
Regardless of what you think of the call, it’s what it is. Live with it, and move on.
See you all poolside!
Chief Referee, Tasmania Underwater Hockey
Skill of the week – Passing
High percentage passes keep possession of the puck i.e. don’t give it to the opposition. Don’t forget – especially for the forwards – swim into open space to draw the opposition and create gaps through which you, or your team-mates, can pass. Don’t pass directly in front of an opposition player. Either flick past them and follow up, curl and pass to your team mate or draw the oposition into a more direct line then pass out of their reach.