Bench Minor
Bike polo tournament
March 20th – 21st, 2010
Chinatown, NYC

Finally, some real info about Adam’s Tournament. I talked with him tonight about this and the teams are strictly limited to five. But teams can have more than the 8-10 players as stated on the flier. It’s only a limit of how many players that can be on the bench for a game. Example: Team “Gerbilers” from a mix of Mid-West cities could have 13 players, but only 10 of them can play in a game. Three of the teams players would have to be scratched from the game but they,  the Gerbilers, can change line up from game to game. Any way, My point is that the 5 team limit, times the 10 player max does not necessarily mean only 50 people get to join in this debacle. Also this is just in case you don’t read the rules, but you should. There is some trash talk about players we love and despise.  And 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. Just saying.

Still no word on how much the entry fee will be. Per team or per player? I’m not sure. I’m sure some invitation will be extended to clubs of Adam’s choosing but I’ll let Adam announce how he plans to grant entry into his hockey inspired tournament.

By the way, March 20th is the Vernal Equinox and a week after Daylight Saving Time.

Good Luck.


Teams will consist of 8 or more players. For each game (both periods) you need between 8 and 10 players on your bench. Although your team might be 12 or 30 people, you need to pick which 8-10 people are going to be active before each game, and stick with those until the match is over. Teams can be comprised of any combination of city and there’s no minimum on how much time each member plays. You can switch players in and out on the fly as long as there are only 3 active on the court (or two during a penalty kill). If the entering player(s) are active in play before the exiting players are completely on the bench there will be a delay of game penalty called.


1. Each player should have two different jerseys (tshirts, hoodie, whatever) in each of their team’s two different colors. The whole team will be wearing same color jersey that doesn’t conflict with opponent’s color. That’s why the teams have two different colors.

2. Mallets and bikes must not have dangerous protrusions (bolts sticking out, jagged edges, etc), and must be capped on the handle/handlebars.

3. Helmets are required, unless insurance doesn’t require them. There’s also plenty of other safety equipment out there. So don’t complain about your little fingers getting booboos when you could be wearing gloves.


1. Shots come off the business end of the mallet, unless a defensive player shuffles (or deflects off their mallet) into their own goal. They can deflect off any number of wheels, bikes or walls. Shots that deflect off a teammate’s body are considered shuffles.

2. Wrist shots that are scooped up off the ground with the mallet tip will count as long as they never go above the goal’s crossbar, and also do not come from the player’s defensive half of the court. This means you can pass with an air ball anywhere at any height, but if you are attempting to score it has to be done from your offensive half of the court (no long bombs), and it can’t ever go above the cross bar on its journey to the net.

3. Shuffles do not count unless you are shuffling into your own net. That is an own-goal, and for this tournament you’ll have at least 7 other people pissed at you for doing this, instead of the standard 2.

4. After a goal is scored, both teams will have a chance to switch players. The ref will whistle to begin play.

5. Half court will be given to scored-on team: play starts when ball or scored-on player crosses half court.

6. If goal gets accidentally moved, a ref will fix it. Play does not stop.

Game format:

1. There will be two periods of 25-35 min (length of periods is still under review). There will be a 1 min break in between halves, when the goal your team is defending will switch. No timeouts! Work on your bikes while you’re on the bench. The clock will stop after a ref calls a penalty and after goals, so teams will have a chance to switch players, and then it should only take a couple seconds for the teams to get on-side.

2. Each team will play all others in a round-robin fashion. Wins are worth 3 points, losses are a big fat 0, and ties are going to be fun. Because the game restarts with standard “joust” but teams play 2 on 2 in sudden death. Whichever team scores first gets 2 points, losers get 1 point. After round-robin there will be a single elimination final between the top 4 teams. Based on the round-robin rankings, the top ranked team will play the 4th, 2nd vs the 3rd, and then the cup final. And oh yes, there will be a cup. You want to win this.


These are arranged in severity, starting with tapouts and ending with game ejections on the bottom. Pay attention. I’ll go ahead and describe what these penalties mean first, and then you can read what you have to do to earn them, you naughty little turd.


1. Tapout: hit your mallet on the wall at either midcourt location (a cymbal or something will probably be there). If you miss it, you need to circle back and hit it right, or you will still be out. If you go back to bench instead of tapping out, you won’t be required to tap in when re-entering game.

2. Ball turnover: For penalties like delay of game, this is just like after a goal is scored. Both teams will be able to switch players (quickly) and after the ref blows whistle to signal start of play, the penalized team will wait until other team either crosses midcourt with a player or the ball.

3. One min penalty: This is for when players are intentionally breaking rules (slashing, roughing, interference) or accidentally being reckless (most hooking, or high sticking). When the ref sees one of these rules broken, he will whistle to stop play and call it immediately if the rule-breaking team has possession of the ball. Play will stop while that player exits to the bench (the penalized player cannot play for the entire minute, while the rest of the team can switch out players as necessary as long as they only have two players on the court). If the innocent team has the ball, the ref will raise his arm for a delayed call. He will wait until the rule-breaking team gets possession to blow the whistle and make the call (this is called a delayed penalty, it’s so the innocent team doesn’t have to slow their roll. Whistle gets blown as soon as the other team gets possession). The only time the call will be waived off is if the innocent team has the ball while being say, slashed or roughed or whatever, and ends up scoring before the other team possesses the ball. After call is made the teams will be playing 3 on 2 for that whole minute unless the innocent team scores during the power play, at which time the rule-breaking team can go back to using 3 players (including the original rule-breaker).

4. Two min penalty: This is reserved for slashing or roughing calls that draw blood or otherwise serious injuries (up to the refs discretion- if you get little cuts on your leg or hand from random shit and you’re not wearing appropriate gloves or padding, you will be mocked for being a big baby). This will be served just like the one min penalty, but that player will have to be out for 2 mins instead, and consequently the team will play a man down that whole time (unless the other team scores to end the power play).
5. Ejection: This is reserved for fighting and people being complete asshats. You are simply ejected out of the game. It is up to the ref to decide if your team will serve a minute or two penalty. If both combatants are equally responsible for being morons, then neither team will be penalized (just the combatants ejected).

And now the rules…:

1. Footdown- Putting your stupid foot on the ground. Also, touching the ball with your foot while it’s not on your pedal is considered a footdown. Penalty: tapout (tapouts will be on both sides of court). If you take too long to tapout, and you are interfering with the game, the ref can call a penalty on you for either delay of game, or interference. If you block a ball that is totally going into the goal, it will still count as a goal.

Penalties that result in a ball turnover:

2. Delay of game- Flipping the ball up and out of the court. If it ends up in one of the bench areas it can simply be placed in that corner without play stoppage. If the ball is shot and deflects off a mallet or something and goes out, it is not a delay of game. It should just be placed next to wall where it went out. Another thing that WILL earn a delay of game is being active in game after a foot down. Also having too many active players on the court is delay of game.

3. Balljointing (AKA The Angelo, AKA what Joe does because he can’t ball handle). Description: Dragging the ball along the ground. Not to be confused with scooping it up into the air, or a wrist shot, or other ball handling that does not involve pinching the ball and dragging it. Please be advised of the difference between BJ’ing and maneuvering the ball with the open end of the mallet. Ball jointing is allowed ONLY in the player’s defensive zone. Whipping it out across half court (this is considered a shuffled pass) from a ball joint is fine. Ball jointing in offensive zone will result in the ball turnover penalty.

Penalties that result in a 1 min. 2 on 3:

4. Hooking or holding- Hooking an opponents bike or person with your mallet, holding is grabbing something you shouldn’t with your hand, or “chicken winging” by holding someone back with your elbow.

5. Roughing- Hitting someone in the back (this will be more lenient if the person you’re hitting has possession of the ball, but knocking someone from behind while they are on a breakaway is dangerous and will be called). Hitting someone above the shoulders is also roughing, as well as punching or kicking someone pretty much anywhere. T-boning and just riding right in to someone whether they have the ball or not is also roughing. You big goon.

6. Slashing- Please don’t hit anyone, anywhere with your mallet. If it bumps into their legs or bike it’s fine, but if you take a swipe at the ball and it ends up on someones spokes or fingers it will be called. Chopping down hard on someone’s mallet is definitely slashing. You can defensively hook their mallet or lift it or hold it down with yours, but tomahawking will be called. Basically when it crosses the line of possibly damaging the opponent’s mallet, it’s slashing. I’m not bothering to write a highsticking call, but hitting the ball in the air at any height is fine. For it to be a scoring chance it needs to be hit below the crossbar, and not rise up over the cross bar on it’s journey to the net. Hitting someone above the shoulders with your mallet (intentionally or not) will result in a one, two min penalty, or ejection if you’re being completely reckless. If you hit someone with the follow-through swing of a shot or pass it will be up to the ref whether to call a slashing or not, as you really shouldn’t have your face in the blast zone anyway.

7. Interference- Actively blocking another player from getting to the ball when you don’t have possession. This rule only applies to player interactions away from the ball. You don’t need to ever worry about interfering with a player that has the ball, in fact they should be expecting to have opponents in their face. One example of interference is when your teammate has the ball and you are trying to keep the other team from getting to them. Moving picks are interference as well as checking a player that is off the ball. This especially relates to opponents in the goalie position. Hitting the “goalie” will result in this penalty unless the goalie is close enough to reach the ball with his/her mallet. Furthermore, while tapping mallets is kosher all the time, aggressive mallet play off the ball is also considered interference (example: tossing an opponent’s dropped mallet across the court, or kicking a goalie’s mallet out from under them away from the ball). To clarify: that move of Rory’s of smacking the goalie’s mallet out of the way as the ball is nearing the net is a skillful and completely legal maneuver as long as you’re not making a slash on the goalie’s mallet and the ball is close enough that you’re trying to keep the goalie from poking it away. Tapping the ball to make it a technical hit and proceeding to t-bone the goalie is illegal; although that wouldn’t be interference so much as roughing. Being somewhere or doing something you shouldn’t be after a footdown is interference. Get the f*ck out of the way. If you look in the Cog magazine article with the Cog tournament, there’s a (bad) picture of me leaning into Kremin’s arm, who’s between me and Jake, who has the ball. This is so totally interference.

8. Unsportsmanlike conduct- Throwing your mallet (or dropping it in a conveniently bad place), being an asshole to a ref, etc…

2 min penalty is saved for slashing calls that draw blood or roughing that causes substantial injury, or even if say a mallet ends up in someone’s front wheel and causes a lot of damage. Pretty much any call can be extended to 2 mins if considered severe enough.

Lastly, if any of you morons start fighting you will be separated and ejected from the game. Instigating a fight will earn your team a penalty as well.

goal size 100×200cm

unlikely scenario: A player hooks the shit out of someone but they keep the ball resulting in a delayed call, and before the player’s team get possession he hooks or roughs yet another opponent. When they finally get possession, the whistle is called and the bonehead goes to the bench, however since he got two penalties he will be sitting for two minutes while his team is a man down. If the other team scores in the first minute of their power play, the penalty clock is started again at a minute for the second infraction. This is the only time that scoring a goal doesn’t result in the end of the power play. If it’s two different players on the same team causing these penalties neither of them can play until the first minute (or opposing team scores on you) when the original offender can get off the bench. So whoever takes the penalty after the delayed call is put up could essentially be sitting out for 2 minutes.

unlikely scenario: player has scoring chance and is taken down with hooking (or hit in the back, slash on the hands, etc) and still manages to make goal. Result: Goal duh. Penalty gets waived off. If the player does not score in this scenario there is no penalty shot or somesuch, only the man down penalty. If, say, the penalty is obviously intended to prevent a goal (like when Bryan hooked me down by my headtube while he was laying on the ground, preventing me from tapping in a goal) the ref may make the penalty more severe.

unlikely scenario: flipped up ball (from own defensive zone or wrist shot that rises above crossbar) or shuffle pass that deflects off wheel (anyone’s) and goes into goal. result: no goal. possession goes to team that didn’t hit it last with a mallet. For this to be an own-goal the opposing team would need to be silly enough to deflect it in off of their mallet. A more traditional own-goal could go in off a wheel or two but it would have to start as a pass of some sort. OOorrr… it could be a flip pass or shuffle like above, then bounce off opponent’s mallet (making it a pass) off a wheel and in. This would be an own-goal, but that’s getting ridiculous. So to be clear: You can’t shuffle in a goal off of an opponent’s wheel. But you could do it off an opponent’s mallet. This is all taking the position that wheels are inconsequential barriers as far as shots and shuffles go. But everyone should be in control of their mallet, which is what’s separating own-goals from deflections that aren’t shots.

If for some reason you are unable to wrap your head around any of this, you can email ZACH at: