Before getting into this, I want to say that I appreciate everything that the NAH does. I’m sure it’s very grueling putting in your free time with no compensation (at least I know it can be for us Association of Bike Polo Journalist members). With that said, I have to say that the NAH really let the bike polo community down in 2013 season in regards to rules. The first official ruleset released for the season was missing so much that they had to rush in a revised copy. Sadly, the Eastside Qualification tournament was held before this sad excuse of a ruleset was revised. The NAH was able to get back to us with an improved version before any other qualifying tournament took place and that ruleset lasted through the 2013 WHBPC. This is the ruleset that we all remember from last year, but here it is (Ruleset V3.3) in case you can’t remember. That being sad (and as much as I hate to inflate Nick Kruse’s ego), Nick Kruse killed it this year with his V4.0 of the NAH ruleset. Pure. Fucking. Gold.
There are a few new items added to this ruleset that really sparked my interest in the Ruleset V4.0 Proposal:
- First was the addition of uniform hand signals for the referee. While there are only a few penalties that have these dedicated hand signals, we will definitely be seeing some referee dance moves happening when there are Extension, Charging, Interference, Steering Arm, and Flagrance penalties called.
- While the 2013 rulesets tried to streamline the rules for easier understanding, they left out a lot of important assets, one being Timeouts. I’m really excited to see Timeouts making their way back into the ruleset.
- I never understood why players were not allowed to ball joint in their offensive zone, so I’m excited to see the new lax rules on ball jointing. Potentially, players will be allowed to ball joint anyway on the court as long as they don’t do it for longer than two seconds.
- 2014, the year we FINALLY see mallet dropping addressed in the ruleset. Not only is it addressed, the rule couldn’t be more perfect. Allowing each player to only have “one mallet in play” is the exactly how such a rule should read. And I’m glad to see that players can ride around without a mallet as long as the mallet isn’t in the way. Sometimes it’s better to help defend without a mallet than spending time trying to pick it up, essentially taking yourself out of the play.
- NO MORE SHAFT GOALS, WOOHOO! Good Riddance! Although let’s be honest, there is a nice little video from the 2013 Midwest Qualifier that will show us why Nick Kruse wanted to get rid of this rule.
- One of the hardest rules to referee was the 90 degree arm allowance. From most angles on the referee stand, it was hard to tell if the player had their arms extended at 62 degrees, 87 degrees, 113 degrees, etc. While Fixcraft may have to lose their Buffer t-shirt, I’m glad that we lost the 90 degree rule. A tucked arm is all you really need to protect yourself.
- And finally, GOODBYE SUDDEN DEATH! Well sort of. In the proposed V4.0 Ruleset we see a brand new way to do overtime. If the score is tied at the end of regulation time in games that can’t end in ties, there will now be a five minute overtime period. In this five minute overtime period, play will continue until one team reaches five points. If the score is still tied at the end of this period, the game will then go to Sudden Death with no stop in the play. This is a great way to settle a tied game, and I’m excited to see it play out in a tournament!
Nick Kruse was a great addition to the NAH lineup because of his dedication to making this hobby of ours into a legitimate sport, and as head of the Rules Committee, he is sending us one giant leap closer to that goal. After thoroughly studying the National Hockey League’s ruleset (as well as other rulesets I’m sure), he has put together the most elaborate and well thought out ruleset that hardcourt bike polo has ever seen. I encourage you all to read over this ruleset and see for yourself just how game changing (bad pun) this ruleset is. After reading it over, I further encourage you all to contact your regional representatives and share with them your love for the ruleset so that it can pass the official vote in two weeks. On top of this, if you see anything that Nick Kruse and the rest of the Rules Committee may have missed, be sure to contact the Rules Committee with your suggestions.
Here’s to constant progress for Hardcourt Bike Polo!