Ruleset v4.5 Unanimously Approved for 2015

This page is a companion to the newly published ruleset for 2015. V4.5 can be found here: http://www.nahardcourt.com/rules/

Over the winter the rules committee has been drafting rules, discussing ideas for the future and play-testing early versions of rules. In January a call was put out for clubs to play-test a version of the crease rule, and Boston and Portland both responded with excellent feedback. In addition to that, we utilized this ruleset in two non-NAH events: Fixcraft’s PHBP Momentum event, and Toronto’s GLWC. We used these opportunities to gather real-life feedback from the players who are pushing these rules to their limit. We are confident that we have successfully built upon the foundation of last years comprehensive ruleset in such a way that work can be focused on specific rules efforts such as these. We no longer need to overhaul an entire document and can pour our minds into heavy topics such as the crease and obstruction. We will continue to gather feedback and improve the language of the entire ruleset.

The voting was open to the regions for the period of 7 days and after some lengthy discussion the vote came back unanimously in favor of enacting this ruleset for the 2015. We gave the voting options of: Affirmative. Affirmative with Comments. Negative with Comments. Abstain.

Votes in:

Cascadia: Affirmative
Eastside: Affirmative
Heartland: Affirmative
Great Lakes: Affirmative with comments
Great Plains: Affirmative
Mexico: Affirmative
Northside: Affirmative
South East: Affirmative
South Central: Abstained
South West: Affirmative with comments

For transparency, here are what the various regions responded with for feedback from club representatives:

South West Feedback:
Crease:
minor penalty too harsh – delayed turnover instead,
size of crease too big, also prefer a half circle shape
doesn’t like the no contact against the goalie rule
how will the 3 seconds be counted?

Obstruction:
Needs fleshing out a bit and more precise language before people can get on board completely
Should be contingent on having more than one ref per court
Worries about subjectivity of refs and how that will affect differences in calls from game to game

Other:
Interfering with another player’s mallet when off-ball should be penalized similar to the way off-ball body contact is. Slashing could be called but it’s too limiting an infraction.

Great Lakes Feedback:
Obstruction:
Perhaps add some more clarity that it’s extended offensive off-ball screens that are elimated. A fair amount of people assumed that while on defense you couldn’t screen someone from receiving a pass. This really just boils down to players not understanding the rule.
I would highly recommend adding an appendix (I realize it makes it longer) that describes the type of play that is illegal. I think eventually it could be eliminated but right now it’s just not natural enough for players to understand. When I’ve explained to people what are the type of plays that are now illegal they’ve almost all agreed that it’s ok. Some additional clarity with a list of a few examples would go a long way.
Consider adding an off ball ref for semi-final and final matches. I realize that we already run short on quality refs but if we’re talking about qualifiers, NAs and World’s we can hope that this would be possible. Usually at this point we’ve moved to one court which would make it easier.


We will continue to refine the ruleset and there will be an update this week and potentially more updates before or during the qualifier season as more play-testing is done. As always, plase contact joe@nahardcourt.com if you have constructive input!

Below is some additional clarification on the obstruction rule and some various scenarios that have been brought to our attention over the past months. Thanks to Mr Do for the video used to make the clips.

NAH Ruleset V4.5 – Obstruction Rule

  • §8.7.1 – An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player actively impedes the movement of an opposing player who is attempting to make a play on the ball.
    §8.7.1.1 – This movement, referred to as “screening” or “picking,” will be defined as blocking an opponent to gain access to the ball, blocking them from challenging the player in possession of the ball, or preventing them from free and open movement to gain a defensive position on the court.
    §8.7.2 – If a “screen” is set that is stationary, momentary and in a safe manner an obstruction penalty will not be assessed, however, legal bodily contact as described in §10.3 is possible.

Examples

We’ve taken clips of games from last year to provide examples of what is legal, what isn’t and some calls which are on the border to best understand that the line is very fine and will only grow more clear over time. There was no such rule when these games were played, so we aren’t suggesting any of these plays were illegal at the time.

Legal


Legal – Eddy (in red) has the opportunity to screen harder but holds back. This is an example of an equally effective block without impeding movement.

 


Legal – Henri (in blue) nearly screens out Daren (in black). He occupied the space early enough to allow the T-Bone to be avoided. Daren accelerated into the screen. This is a great example of being in the way, rather than getting in the way.

 


Legal – Joey (in black) has the ball, therefore Luca (in gray) had the right to stop short on him.

 

Legal – David (in red) pivot turns, plants his rear tire and inadvertently causes a screen while moving into position to defend or make a play on the ball carrier. David was merely playing the ball without intention to screen.

 


Legal – All of the players involved are continuing their movement in order to avoid any active impeding of movement.

Illegal


Illegal – Eddy (in red) uses his brakes to ‘screen’ Luca (in gray) from making a play on the ball/ball carrier. This is an example of when it’s illegal to prevent a player of moving towards an open ball. If Eddy choses to move towards the ball himself, and uses a screen only to give himself space, then it can be done legally.

 


Illegal – Prolonged impeding of movement by Sean, but it’s also in the crease.

 


Illegal – Obstruction on Will (in gray) but not Polo (second screener in gray). Polo just happens to be in the way while Will put himself in the way by using his brakes.
 


Illegal – Obstruction on Henri (in blue), he rides to the front of the net and stops directly in front of the Mosquito’s player. This is also potentially inside of the crease.

 


Illegal – Obstruction, LML (in turquoise tanktop) cut off line from behind the net while braking hard causing a dab. LML needs to continue rolling forward.

 


Illegal – Obstruction and Tail Whip on Forrest (in turquoise), this could potentially be a Minor penalty if it results in a shot on net.

 


Illegal – Obstruction, Polo (in gray) stops short, with eyes off ball and on Joey (in black) which results in a breakaway. Polo has to let Joey attempt to make a play on the ball carrier.

 


Illegal – First Eddy (in red) interferes, at which point Polo (in gray) protests for a call. Then Eddy Obstructs Polo by cutting his line and stopping short. This results in a 1-on-1 situation with the goalie which means this obstruction could be considered a Minor penalty.

 


The factor’s at play here are the duration of the screen and intensity of braking, but essentially Polo (in gray) is preventing a player without the ball from getting up court into a position. This is illegal, but since it has little effect on the play a referee could let it go with a warning.

 


This is a clear obstruction on Polo (in gray) as he accelerates into a position to deliberately force physical contact with the player in red. If he were already in the position to block, it’s legal, but since he had to move deliberately and held the screen, it’s Obstruction. Moreover, it results in a shot on net that wasn’t fairly won..

Playtesting proposed rule changes – Obstruction

With a number of the most experienced NAH approved refs, and players from around North America attending the Great Lakes Winter Classic in Toronto this weekend, we are using it as a chance to playtest the proposed new Obstruction and Crease rules.

Thanks to Joe and Mark for their hard work in drafting this, and to the players of the PHPB for their input, and testing it. Thanks to Mr Do for the video used to make the clips.

Obstruction Rule Latest Draft

  • §8.7.1 – An obstruction penalty will be assessed when a player utilizes a ‘screen’ to actively impede the movement of an opposing player who is not in possession of the ball in a manner deemed by the referee to be prolonged or dangerous.
  • §8.7.1.1 – ‘Screening’ will be defined as blocking an opponent to gain access to the ball, blocking them from challenging the player in possession of the ball, or preventing them from free and open movement to gain a position on the court. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of movement:
    • Significant change in direction or speed of the players bike.
    • Acceleration/deceleration of the players bike.
    • Changing directions while moving forward, or moving backwards.
    • Lifting and turning of the players front or back wheel.
    • Lateral movement by leaning or hopping.
  • §8.7.2 – If a ‘screen’ is set that is stationary or momentary and in such a way that legal bodily contact as described in §10 is possible, an obstruction penalty will not be assessed.

Examples

We’ve taken clips of games from last year to provide examples of what is legal and what isn’t. There was no such rule when these games were played, so we aren’t suggesting any of these plays were illegal at the time.

Legal


Legal – Eddy has the opportunity to screen harder but holds back. This is an example of an equally effective block without impeding movement.

 


Legal – Henri nearly screens out Daren. He occupied the space early enough to allow the T-Bone to be avoided. Daren accelerated into the screen.

 


Legal – Joey has the ball, therefore Luca had the right to stop short on him.

 


Legal – David pivot turns, plants his rear tire and inadvertently causes a screen. David was merely playing the ball without intention to screen.

Illegal


Illegal – Eddy drew the contact from Luca with the sudden change of direction.

 


Illegal – Prolonged impeding of movement by Sean

 


Illegal – Obstruction on Will but not Polo. Polo just happens to be in the way while Will put himself in the way.

2015 Season and Beyond

NAH Qualifying Series

As in previous years, teams will qualify for the NAHBPC through regional qualifiers.

The regional reps must provide the list of qualified teams, and one wild card team to the NAH (tournaments@nahardcourt.com) by Monday August 3rd 2015.

Qualifiers

The following changes will be made from last year.

Regions will have full control over their qualifier. This includes:

  • Dates: (as long as it’s before August 3rd).
  • Format: This may be the format of the tournament itself, but can also include multiple tournaments, a qualifying series, or a geographical split into sub-regions, for example. For any guidance, please see http://www.nahardcourt.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/NAH_Ruleset_v4x_Appendix_A.pdf for suggested formats, or contact tournament@nahardcourt.com.
  • Rules: Any deviations from the NAH rules must be approved by the rules committee, but changes are likely to be rejected only on the basis of safety. For example Eastside may choose to use wrist shots, which would be fine. But making t-bones legal would not.
  • Budget: Regions can decide on registration fees, how they are collected, and how that money is budgeted. Paying referees was a success in 2014, and it is suggested that regions budget for this.
  • Registration: We recommend using Podium for registration, and opening it at least 6 weeks before the tournament. We require registration details to be posted on LOBP, and sent to tournaments@nahardcourt.com at least two weeks in advance, so that everyone has a fair chance to register. Out-of-region players must be able to register, but regions may have an in-region only period of up to 1 week.

As a change from last year players may now play in multiple qualifiers. This creates a few different scenarios:

  • If a player qualifies with two different teams, they must choose which team to register and play with in the NAHBPC, they cannot play with both.
  • Teams must register for the NAHBPC as ⅔ of lineup they qualified with. If this is not possible, then they will lose their qualifying slot. Teams playing with an already qualified player, or a player they know will try to qualify with another team, must plan for this.
  • If a ⅔ qualified team plays in another qualifier, it will be assumed they qualified from the first qualifier, and their final position in later qualifiers will be ignored, unless they notify the NAH, and tournament organisers in advance. For example if the Means had been able to play ESQ as well as MXQ last year, and qualified, unless they had notified the NAH and ESQ organisers in advance, they would be considered to have qualified through the MXQ slots.

Qualifying Slots

Qualifying slots will be allocated to each region as follows:

20 teams, 2 from each region.

24 teams, based on the top 24 in 2014, where each team earns a slot for the region it qualified in. This produces the following totals:

  • Cascadia: 11
  • South West: 5
  • Eastside: 4
  • Great Lakes: 4
  • Heartland: 4
  • South East: 4
  • Great Plains: 3
  • Mexico: 3
  • Northside: 3
  • South Central: 3

In addition the champions (Beaver Boys), are already qualified for the NAHBPC (minimum 2/3 of the same lineup), and do not need to qualify. If they choose to attempt to qualify, then the region they attempt to qualify in will get an extra slot. If they do not attempt to qualify, nor register for the NAHBPC, their slot will not be allocated to a region.

The final 3 slots, plus any unclaimed slots will be allocated to the wildcard tournament.

 

NAHBPC 2015

The NAHBPC will take place in Lexington, KY, from Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th September 2015.

Thursday will be a 30 team wildcard. This will consist of 6-7 rounds of Swiss, followed by a small double elim, for the qualifying slots. For example, for 3 slots, the top 8 teams will go to the elimination.

After the wildcard is done, early evening, the courts will be open until late for pickup and practice.

Wildcard registration will open on the first Monday after the last regional qualifier. Each region will get one slot, two slots will be given to Lexington, for their volunteers, and a slot will be given to the Ladies Army 2015 winners. In the event the Ladies Army winners have already qualified, or can’t attend, the slot can go to another team of the Ladies Army organisers choosing. We would suggest the next highest ranked team, who are not qualified, but can attend.

The remaining slots, including any unclaimed from the above, will be first-come-first-served. Any team of 3 players may register for the wildcard, they do not need to have played in a qualifier.

Friday will be 48 teams in equally seeded AM and PM groups, where teams will play 5 games each.

Saturday morning will be the top 18 teams (9 from each group), playing 4 games.

Saturday afternoon will be the remaining 30 teams (15 from each group), playing 5 games.

Sunday will be a double elim for 28 teams (the top 18 group, and the best 10 teams from the remaining 30).

The format may change, due to weather, or other unavoidable scenarios.

 

NAH Bench 2015

This year the NAH Bench is provisionally scheduled for November, hopefully in Guadalajara, Mexico. As yet, nothing is confirmed. In the event that does not work out, we will look for another warm location for the same dates, or postpone it to spring 2016.

We are changing the qualifying system for the 2015 NAH Bench. Rather than base it on performance in 3vs3, the overwhelming feedback has been that clubs want to qualify in their own regions. Some regions already have existing bench championships (such as ESBI), we hope those regions will use it for NAH qualifying. Like with 3vs3, regions will have full control over format, rules, team/squad size, budget, registration, etc.

Regional Bench qualifiers may include clubs from outside the region, or multiple teams per club. Teams must be club based, but regions will have the flexibility to decide how those teams are formed, and who may play for them. Regional reps must provide a qualified club, willing to travel, and a reserve list, to the NAH, by Monday 14th September. If no qualifier is possible, then they should determine another way to decide on a club that wants to go to the Championships.

The Bench championships will consist of 12 club based teams. One slot will be given to each region, with one additional slot going to the champions (Portland), and the host club. In the event a region cannot, or chooses not to send a club, regions will get a second team in the following order, based on finishing position in the 2014 NAH Bench, and 2014 NAHBPC finishing position, for the 3 regions that did not send a team. This process will continue to 3rd teams, 4th teams, etc, if required. The regions who already have 2 teams (Cascadia and the host region), will be skipped in the first round of re-allocations.

  • Cascadia
  • Great Lakes
  • Eastside
  • Heartland
  • South Central
  • Northside
  • South East
  • South West
  • Great Plains
  • Mexico

 

WHBPC 7

The 7th WHBPC will take place in Timaru, NZ, in the week of 3rd-7th February 2016.

As yet, no allocations or format have been announced. The NAH will use the NAHBPC results to allocate slots.

 

NAHBPC 2016

With the growth of the squad format (5 player squads), and no worlds to qualify for, based on the feedback from many tournaments of that format in the coming season, we will give serious consideration to use this format for the NAHBPC 2016. This means 2015 may be the last year traditional 3vs3 is used at the highest level of competition in this continent.

 

WHBPC 8

The NAH would like to bid for the WHPBC 8, with an aim to host it in late summer 2017. We ask interested regions to look for 3-4 court locations, and get back to us with a proposal by the end of 2015..

German translation of NAH Ruleset

Thanks to Graz Bike Polo, in Austria, who have translated the NAH rules into German.

The original English ruleset is the only one applicable to NAH tournaments (we hope to change this sooner rather than later, at least for Spanish and French), this may be very useful for those whose first language is German, and would like to use our ruleset.

http://graz.bikepolo.at/cms/wp-content/uploads/NAH_4.3-Deutsch-BPA-Version_final.pdf.