The FIH has announced that they will implement the EHL rules variation mandating a 2-minute suspension for a green card in the upcoming Men's ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne as well as the 3 BDO WorldHockey World Cup Qualifiers in France, New Zealand and Argentina.
At those tournaments, players receiving a green card will be automatically suspended from the match for 2 minutes and their team will play with one less player, in the same fashion as a yellow card suspension. The technical officials will time the 2 minutes and allow the suspended player back onto the pitch immediately after the 2 minutes has been served.
This is a very interesting development, one aimed at removing the perception that a green card is nothing but a slap on the wrist and offers teams an opportunity to "get away with one" before they buckle down and play with discipline. From my conversations with EHL umpires who have experience with using green card suspensions, it can also put more onus on the umpires to use their full repertoire of control measures to try to prevent green cards from being needed since they now have a greater impact on the game.
A quick note of congratulations to Canadian umpire Gillian Batey, who recently earned her FIH badge at the Champions Challenge II tournament in Kazan this summer. Fantastic work, Gillian, and we look forward to your continued progress on the world stage!
Mississipean Sarah Thomas has worked her way up from youth leagues to being the only female referee in major college football, and also has reffed New Orleans Saints' training camps.
An All-American basketball player at University of Mobile and 5-letter softball player in high school, Thomas obviously loves sports and has found her niche officiating in a sport that she didn't even play. Back in 2007, when first made history breaking into the college ranks, the referee coordinator said:
"She came highly recommended by two NFL scouts," said Gerry Austin, a longtime NFL referee and the conference's coordinator of officials. "She has a good presence and demeanor. I feel like she has the ability and courage to make a call, and the guts to not make one, too."
She's now expected to be the first woman to be invited to referee in the NFL.
Carolina has had an amazing career so far, including umpiring at both the Athens and Beijing Olympics (the latter of which saw her umpire the Gold Medal game), two World Cups and three Champions Trophies. Hamish has umpired at two European Cups, two World Cups, three World Cups, and started out at the Junior World Cup in 1997.
Top Aussie international Rob Hammond shares his thoughts on the new rules from a player's viewpoint. He focuses on how the rule prohibiting hitting the ball directly into the circle from within the 23m has provided a different set of options which neither promote or discourage circle penetrations.
"One point that is valuable with the new rule is that it forces you
change the point of attack from where the free hit originates, which
means that by the time the ball enters the circle the opposition
defence is usually shifting or sliding as well, so they are not
settled, balanced and have to re-adjust their marking, tackling and
interception lines. With the traditional rule teams would set up a mini
wall 5 metres from the free-hit, and have their centre half and spare
fullback/sweeper just behind this wall protecting the direct line to
goal, which meant any balls into this area were generally intercepted.
All in all the opportunity to win PC’s and generate goal scoring
opportunities is roughly the same, but we’re seeing a much more clever
twist to the players skills in doing so."
Some really insightful comments from a top player, which can help us as umpires understand how the teams are dealing with the transition and how we need to adapt some of our techniques and strategies to map to these changes.
A shameless plug for my friend Daniel Carson, who takes some of the best hockey action shots I've ever seen. The colours are lush and the shots are somehow more intimate and personal - the focus is on the player as a person and not (as it often feels like) on their body parts. He has a Women's Junior World Cup Gallery, as well as shots from many other top-level competitions with an emphasis on his native Australia.