Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Hockey Pro League model is broken – this is how to fix it

How long can the nine-month Pro League continue in its current guise? MANI KOCHAR says the global league should follow rugby’s Autumn Internationals format

‘Hockey at its Best’ Was it? Really? The death of the FIH Pro League format is surely looming large on the horizon and most may be happy to see it coming. Canada pulling out this week just adds to the nails being hammered into the coffin. A ripple of applause was heard from hockey pundits around the globe.

And as much as I hate seeing any kind of failure to do with hockey, when its intent was to promote the game internationally, the fact that it was universally met with such opposition from the outset should have been a huge signpost that this simply was not the way to go.

Eventually a vacuum for regular internationals will need to be filled. And we definitely need to see our stars pulling on national jerseys to play against each other. But let’s change the ‘why’ and ‘how’.

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  1. I love watching the Pro League matches on BT sport. I’m never going to drive to London to pay to sit in a rubbish seat with hundreds/thousands of the public with their viruses, over-priced food and drink, musical instruments and bored/badly behaving children. Leave it alone: it works for plenty of us very well as it is.

  2. I wonder how many children in the average hockey club joined having seen hockey on TV. And, for that matter, how many have ever seen a game on TV.

    I sometimes wonder if the sport’s administrators are keen on TV and high profile international matches because that’s what is good for administrators. In a different model of the game, the grass roots thrive because hockey is fun, because we are less obsessed with celebrity, and because parents can play together with children.


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