Continued from WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR –
WINNIPEG (PART C) in July, 2016.]
Mekkar had been to
Diego a couple of times before, once with his papa,
but he was too fairly young to remember much of those trips. Travelling to
different places wasn’t such a big deal to him either since he has been many
places. People are normally surprised The Arctic Native has journeyed all
around the world at such a young age.
This jaunt was different because this time it was to play hockey. He felt there was a lack of quality ice rinks in the area. Even back home someone seems to know something about always sunny
California, especially the southern part of
the state. It was an image created by marketing campaigns to draw foreign
tourists. Part of that was the surfer music of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean,
The Ventures, and more that perpetrated those myths about Southern
California throughout the whole world.
The youngster listened to some of that music and had even heard statements such as it is the land of the beautiful people. He didn’t believe it because he was there right now and was not the recipient of his mama’s model looks. Mekkar thought that the city seemed like a nice to be, perhaps a little on the warm side for his taste. After all the area is a desert, just not an arctic one.
Adolescent Mekkar loved playing on the smaller ice surfaces in
North America as compared to the standard
twenty foot wider ones back home. Plus, some here in The States and Canada were even
smaller than norm regulation size which even more suited Mekkar’s hitting style
game. The more dinky, the better in his mind because he regarded the boards as
his friends. He also used them to angle opposing forwards in his defensive zone
to crush those who venture there with devastating hits. Mekkar employed his
powerful legs, lower body core, and very low center of gravity to play the body
on enemy players. That meant all types of hits were dished out in many forms,
even open-ice hip checks too!
He figured if there is less ice for speedy opponents, then it is easier to track them down. Hopefully, he is not chasing them. In that scenario, it would mean that Mekkar is already behind the play. The Arctic Warrior loved to hand out to other players a hard body check that hopefully would create a turnover. The lack of rink size equals more restricted maneuverability of the opposition’s part. Also, a turnover can start the transition to offense for Mekkar’s squad.
The concept of Mekkar was that, if he could apply more energy to the actual hit itself, it would zap some energy from his enemy. Additionally, Mekkar felt confident that he could use less physical exertion to get to the spot and make it happen in the first place. The benefits would show later on in the game when fatigue on both sides set in. Towards the end of a match when more frequent positional mistakes happen, especially in overtime. Not to forget, Mekkar had other distractions as result of his hand injury.
Mekkar was not a respecter of persons when he reached the ice. He just didn’t have any fear or concern about any individual opponents’ size or the name on the back of their jersey. It didn’t matter to him if that player was popular or not. He did not care in the least bit. Everyone was fair game to be hit by him. In other words, Mekkar considered himself to be an equal opportunity punisher or body checker. That was part of his job on the ice and he did it as best as he could.
The Arctic Native was an original that is for sure. Mekkar was also a pain in the rear end. Even his own mother would describe him that way and took the opportunity to tell him on a not so infrequent basis. Mekkar had another role to play and that was to be a pest on the ice and possibly, or at least willing to, brawl too if needed. He used all of these factors together to get into other competitor’s heads and mess with them. The goal with these tactics was to throw the opposition, especially the stars, off of their top game. That might make the difference between victory or defeat. Later on, Esa “Super Pest” Tikkanen used this same strategy to accomplish the same result, but Tikkanen had much more offensive upside than Mekkar. [hockeyfights.com; The Hockey News]
It is a risk using these types of tactics because the potential to receive a great amount of bodily harm is high. These schemes worked more often than not for Mekkar. The Native from the Far North’s reasoning was if it works, even most of the time, keep doing it. Thus, he continued to follow that same course of activity. Mekkar attempts to use the principle of: If it isn't broken, don't (try to) fix it. [T. Bert Lance, 1977; Ann Landers; & possibly before]
Alf’s described his older brother as being an absolute ruthless, mean individual on the ice. The Far North Native could be one at times outside of hockey as well, depending on his mood. The best way to describe Mekkar’s playing style was that it was quite similar to another undersized individual of more recent times. That person was still larger in statue than Mekkar. Mekkar is reminded of himself when he has observed the play of Darius “Kaspar The Unfriendly Ghost” Kasparaitis. Plus, Darius had more offensive prowess than Mekkar. The ice cold young man Mekkar was meaner than Kasparaitis and chose to focus more on his defensive responsibilities. Mekkar did this at some expense and sacrifice in the offensive end. Both players were however unflinching in their own zone on defense and suffered for it. Even though Darius’ last name sounded like some kind of ailment or disease, the only cure was to try to remove him from the game somehow. The same as Mekkar. [hockeyfights.com; The Hockey News]
Some of Mekkar’s teammates described his metamorphosis as he transformed into like a werewolf or similar type creature right when the match began. Mekkar’s brother Alf said that his sibling turned into a super-jerk at game time. Alf one time explained it as, “Being sometimes more than just a jerk in any competitive atmosphere to everyone around him. This included coaches, teammates, and fans also. He (Mekkar) makes no apologies or excuses and carries out this attitude without any apprehension or hesitation whatsoever. It is like there is no doubt in his deranged mind that what he is doing is correct and proper.” Alf went on to say, “Mekkar is not one to consider one bit about the effects or consequences of his outward actions regarding others around him. He doesn’t seem to care either. Like a type of narcissistic selfishness on my older brother’s part. I don’t think Mekkar totally realizes the complete change going on. Similar to an old time berserker warrior in a trance state.” Alf continued, “Mekkar would then revert to his usual inconsistent moody or at times outgoing self afterwards when the match was over. Trouble is, you never knew which one it was going to be.”