Sunday, December 3, 2023

Could Hockey India League be on verge of return?

Attempts to revive the Hockey India League for the first time in five years – which would also include a shortened women’s tournament – have been put into place.

International Hockey Federation chief Thierry Weil revealed last week that Hockey India had written to the FIH to find a suitable window in the calendar to stage HIL for the first time since 2017.

Following an executive board meeting, Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey said: “I believe there is scope to revive the erstwhile Hockey India League and we also discussed the potential in starting a league on similar lines for women.

“In all, it has been a good start and we look forward to working together towards the development of hockey.”

A letter was sent to the FIH and Weil said that HI had been in touch to find common ground in the international window.

Ashley Jackson ruling midfield in the Hockey India League

Weil said: “That (events clashing) would not be nice for the international calendar but it would definitely not be good for the Indian league.

“I am sure soon we will have a dialogue together with Hockey India to see what would be the best period for the HIL.

“I am really happy that hockey India is looking back at having a men’s league as well as a women’s league most probably in a smaller format. We will help them find out what will be, in our view, the best period for the Indian league,” he said.

India’s growing success on the pitch has previously been credited to the success of the HIL in enabling young players to play alongside top international stars.

Based on cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) model, the first edition of the HIL in 2013 featured five franchised sides – Delhi Wave Riders, Mumbai Magicians, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rhinos and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.

HIL looked set to return in 2019 featuring men’s and women’s teams and a shortened format played under five-a-side rules but it never got off the ground.

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