playing rules – checking from behind

Rule 53. Checking From Behind

(a) A Minor penalty and a Game Misconduct penalty or a Major penalty and a Game Misconduct at the discretion of the Referee, based on the degree of violence of the impact; shall be assessed any player who intentionally pushes, body checks, or hits an opposing player from behind, anywhere on the floor. If a player is injured, a Major penalty and a Game Misconduct penalty must be assessed. A Match penalty could also be assessed under this rule.

(b) Where a player is high sticked, cross-checked, bodychecked, pushed, hit or propelled in any manner from behind into the boards or goal net, in such a way that the player is unable to protect or defend herself, a Match penalty shall be assessed.

Note: Referees are instructed not to substitute other penalties when a player is checked from behind in any manner. This rule must be strictly enforced.

1. Checking From Behind entails that contact with the player being checked takes place in the back part of the body.
2. Where a player about to be checked turns and, as a result, creates contact with the back, a penalty shall be assessed to the player delivering the check for Checking From Behind.
3. The intent of this interpretation is not to penalize a player who comes up behind an opponent and in the process of playing the ball, makes unintentional contact with the back part of the body of the player being checked.
4. Riding off, pinching or rubbing a player shall be permitted as long as no intentional contact occurs to the back of that player, except as provided under Rule 50 (b) – Boarding and Body Checking, in all minor divisions.
5. The determining factor for Checking From Behind versus Cross-Checking is whether or not the player applying the check is in motion. If the player is stationary and Cross-Checks an opponent from behind then a penalty for Cross-Checking should be assessed. If the player is in motion and CrossChecks an opponent from behind, then a penalty for Checking From Behind shall be called. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, if a player is cross-checked from behind into the boards or the goal net, the Checking From Behind shall be called.

There are sufficient rules in the Canadian Ball Hockey Association Rule Book to cover most situations that may lead to spinal injuries.
Referees should be aware of the tragic consequences of such injuries and strictly enforce the rules in situations such as the following:

1. Where a player along the boards, with her head down looking for the ball or “digging the ball out”, is hit from behind and driven head first into the boards with the head and neck in a flexed position.
2. Where a player in the process of checking an opponent swings the elbow and forearm out with the intent of throwing the opponent into the boards.
3. Where a player “kicks” or “pulls” an opponent’s feet out from behind and then pushes the player into the boards.

Calling the penalty after the injury has occurred may be too late for that injured player. Only through Referees being consistent in calling this type of infraction with strict enforcement, will players and team officials realize the danger factor in committing such types of fouls. Everyone connected with the game is aware of the tragedy of a spinal injury with resulting paralysis. It is the responsibility of players, team officials and Referees to make every attempt possible to reduce the incident of this frightful injury. Team officials can teach players legitimate methods of checking an opponent, while players can be educated to the dangers of checking an opponent illegally. The Referee has the responsibility to penalize players who illegally check an opponent. If the Referees are consistent and strict in calling infractions that may lead to spinal injuries, then hopefully, along with the cooperation of players and team officials, the chances of a player suffering such injuries can be significantly reduced.

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