Tuesday, July 26, 2016

WORLD WIDE HOCKEY TOUR - SAN DIEGO (H)

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

It was a good thing Mekkar didn’t have any sisters. Mekkar also loved the fact that the rebel league squads had an overall winning record versus NHL clubs in head-to-head exhibition competition. Whoever said the upstarts couldn’t hang with the established major leaguers? This mark ticked off the big boys (NHL) which Mekkar thinks resulted in the harsh surrender and absorption terms for the Québec Nordiques, New England (Hartford) Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, & Edmonton Oilers in the eventual merger. The longer the negotiations dragged on between the WHA and NHL the more screwed over the WHA squads were. That is, if the rival league hoped to have any of their teams be accepted into the fold later on by the more established NHL. [Wikipedia; Playing Hockey The World Over…what.htm; The Hockey News; billsportsmaps.com; whahockey.com; hockeyfights.com]

Even the Selects on this tour began to sense a black cloud of uncertainty that hung overhead some of the teams on the ice they faced. It showed in a bit of spillover in some of the opponent’s play as well. Mekkar had not yet made a previous correlation of the behind-the-scenes activity of the league and on ice product beforehand. Mekkar felt this pressure might have contributed to a measure of success on the part of the visiting Selects squad versus these WHA teams. His opinion is that off-ice and outside work structured environment distractions normally affect any individual’s job performance. Plus, hockey insiders knew about the instability surrounding the WHA.

What was the most disappointing to Mekkar about the 1979 consolidation and absorption by the NHL was not only the loss of major league hockey positions. Added to that, no WHA awards, records, or statistics compiled would be recognized by the NHL ever. Unlike the similar situation involving the recent NBA merger by taking on the ABA New York Nets, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs. To Mekkar, it was like the top circuit (NHL) was intentionally trying to blot out any memories of the rival league. With that attempting to wipe out it existence or any of its accomplishments including the players who were there during its seven year life span. A great example of this attitude was the rejection of any WHA stars from the Canadian side in the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR. [Wikipedia; chidlovski.com; hhof.com/htmlTimeCapsule/GamesSummaryWHA1974; angelfire.com/tv2/rainbowcountry/1972]  More punishment for the upheaval caused by the upstart’s serious challenge to NHL supremacy, which by the way changed pro hockey forever.

As a result of this conviction on the part of Mekkar, he will never set foot into what he deems as the NHL dominated and controlled Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. He makes a different distinction regarding the IIHF. He feels that The Hall is not complete nor a legit hockey shrine. Since it will admit some inductees with questionable credentials to meet certain candidate quotas. Even individuals that never played in the National Hockey League such as a few Russians and females.

Yet, the Hockey Hall of Fame directors have the gall to neglect and punish WHA stars that helped build the game for the current crop of today’s players. Mekkar attributes that attitude and misuse of judgment as unfair, corrupt, and frontier injustice. He refuses to accept it or their positions on personal grounds. Especially, when there are some more qualified applicants in the career pool that he feels would be much better choices for admission. These biases and what he speculates as a political double-standard and why Mekkar only adopts International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame (IIHF) honored members list. He regards that as the true register which includes and exhibits players, builders, and referees from all over the globe. Particular issues to Mekkar are unwavering and non-negotiable. The other arrogantly so called (NHL) Hockey Hall of Fame is nothing but a sham in Mekkar’s eyes. A testament to the claim of focusing on the center of the hockey universe, Toronto. It is an outward display dissing most everywhere else in the world outside North America and regarding them as nothing in the realm of hockey. [Wikipedia; triposo.com/poi/W__62255416; iihf.com/iihf-home/history/the-iihf/iihf-hall-of-fame.html; whahof.com/hofmembers.html]

Anyway, the World Hockey Association was attempting to be a proper world league and had future plans in place to carry this out. Many WHA clubs faced-off in a variety of matches against travelling National squads, top teams, and all-star contingents from a host of nations. These international matchups occurred in both formal and informal situations and exhibitions. Some of the outcomes which were reflected in reason season win-loss columns. Games materialized in different locales in many places even Tokyo, Japan. [angelfire.com/space/u_line/wha7778.htm]

There were formal matches that counted for more than just national, league, team, or individual pride. Those outcomes could affect the playoff positioning fate of a club. Thus, the results were definitely taken seriously. Those tilts exuded a realm of playoff intensity in them. Fortunately for the Selects their matchups did not count in the regular WHA standings or the tension would have been higher. The pairings against the Selects were mainly about continental and hometown dignity. There was still the need to prove which school or style of hockey, in a team sense and on an individual basis, was superior. Was it the strictly European/International or North American system? No one came up with a definite answer to that question.

Mekkar felt that it was a moot point anyway comparing which type of player was better between the two styles. To him the dividing lines were becoming more obscured and there would soon be players that would became like a hybrid type of athlete having the best attributes of both systems. The Arctic Warrior already possessed the mindset that these future athletes could have their origins from anywhere in the world. It turned out to be the case, since there are now ice hockey clubs and leagues in more than one hundred countries. Even in places no one would expect to see it such as in Mexico, Mongolia, and many nations.