Thursday, July 21, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - SAN DIEGO (E)

Continued from WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR – SAN DIEGO (PART D) in July, 2016.]

Usually the rest of the team rosters had a less talented, but nonetheless needed supporting cast to aid the stars. An assortment of mid-level career pro players; Plus, those recently graduated from the college ranks, and like. The majority of which would have been overlooked or never have gotten a sniff of time in the NHL. [Wikipedia; whahockey.com; billsportsmaps.com] Supplementary players that didn’t get a shot in The Show (the NHL) now had a chance to impress and become integral parts of a top club, not just stuck in the minor leagues. Teams that are made up of all the same type of players very rarely are successful and not effective long term. There are various roles to be filled on a squad to provide balance such as pluggers, checkers, defense-first forwards and defensemen, offensive defensemen, power-play and penalty killing specialists and more. Not to discount the very backline of a team, the goaltenders. It is well known in hockey that a hot goalie can make up for a host of mistakes by their team. [Goalie Quotes - msu.edu/user/baujason/quote.html; hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1267123]

The big leaguers’, as well as, individual NHL team owners attempted to react and combat the new league through many methods. Plus, there was the painful matter of the rival circuit’s somewhat successful raiding of talent from National Hockey League squads. Quick action was taken to the assignment of new expansion franchises in key metropolitan markets to shut out the upstarts. Cut off the places where the new guys hoped to succeed and prosper and hopefully they will go away. For instance, the NHL granting an immediate new entry in the New York City area, which is considered by many to be the media capital of the world. The idea was to squeeze out any potential rival from setting up a flagship club there in the most influential press market in the world.

Other owners made life difficult for the upstarts by playing nit-picking games, adding ridiculous fee charges for basic necessities and amenities, etc. Specifically in cities where the WHA teams needed to share fan bases and already established facilities for home matches until the new clubs could secure their own home digs. {Wikipedia; billsportsmaps.com; The Hockey News; whahockey.com; Sports Illustrated]

The rapidly maturing young man thought, by way of his pre-tour research, about some possible reasons for the two top North American hockey leagues’ turf war tactics, counter strategies, & subsequent actions taken. Mekkar did gain some business sense from the many trips by being involved with both his mama and papa in various settings. It is well to note that any business, especially large ones always want to have and keep a dominant share of the marketplace for their particular industry. In this case for a sports franchise to monopolize the fan base in their sphere of influence. It is considered to be paramount for any company or team to be both profitable and have long-term stability.

Even a young Mekkar, who was now a teenager, understood that the old guard, the already entrenched circuit had to execute their plan to force the upstart league out of the larger media markets altogether. That tactic alone could pretty much minimize the threat to the status quo and keep their dominance in the professional hockey industry on the continent. These actions had the effect of pushing the newcomer (WHA) clubs away to the fringes. At the same time, punishing the other league, as well as, new team owners in a variety of ways for even having the audacity to invade the NHL’s so called turf. The wish was that the newer coalition might disappear sooner than later as a result of these many actions taken against them. It is well to note, the National Hockey League never expected any threat to their domain. They believed the WHA would not get start to get off of the ground nor any playing games, in the first place.

This was excluding the on-going, continuous legal battles conducted through the corrupt court system. Contradictory as it is in administering real justice to aggrieved parties to right wrongs. Not to forget the double standard decision making process normally based on a concept of who is supplying the legal industry members with the most favors and outright financial bribes. The court oligarchy created backroom deals and behind the scenes buddy-ship which protects each other and the status quo. Ruled by the premise of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. Mekkar sees this pattern as a double dealing downward slope to becoming much worse in the future with very little possibility of ever being fixed.

However, the dominant league miscalculated the resolve of a few individuals involved against them, as well as, the future effects that would ensue. The main rival was dismissed with all of its faults including being new and fairly unstable, but the impact was far reaching upon the hockey landscape.

Mekkar learned from his business savvy parents early on, to have any chance of success at all, the newer and smaller business has to do it differently. Especially in an established business environment or in this situation, leagues must look for ways to make positive modifications or tweaks while still being innovative and fresh. Yet, not totally destroy the integrity of the sport itself. Mekkar says, “Throw the standard means of carrying out the old status quo and the rulebook right out the door.” That is, like in battle planning, attack areas where you think the big guys are weakest. Also, like in warfare, strike at positions the stronger group either ignores by choice, arrogance, or complacency. This is a phenomenon used in the business world since the beginning of time itself.

In a historic manner the World Hockey Association did that and went far beyond expectations. The era resulted in some changes for the good of many affiliated with the game. Well, maybe except for the old, big league club owners like the Toronto Maple Leafs Harold Ballard who lost a bit of control over player personnel. Soon the fervor increased and everyone was looking for talents in greater numbers all over the globe. This included the virtually untapped United States hockey pool. The prior trend was forever reduced of purposely restricting the searches in Canada alone for able athletes. It was now time to widen the scope to recruit talent.

The experts were now realizing that players from all over could adapt, with time, to the North American brand of ice hockey. Possibly, at least blend that style with each individual skill set. For the longest extent the neglect of broadening the horizons for new proficient players was controlled by many doubters. There were the restrictive beliefs that talent from locations outside of The Great White North (Canada) & a slightly south of the border were incapable of successfully adapting in North American pro leagues. This mistaken idea was proven to be false and even more so as the years have passed. [Wikipedia; billsportsmaps.com; whahockey.com; hockeyfights.com]