Almost all of us have watched the Shah Rukh Khan and Yash Raj Films blockbuster ‘Chak de India’. Well, the idea here is to draw your attention towards our National Sport Hockey at a time when the entire nation is struck by a cricketing euphoria.
The Hockey India League does what that movie did to you, it draws your attention towards the game that was ounce upon a time the most popular one in India.
Its third season has already begun and has even ended now! I’m guessing, you did not know about it at all. Don’t worry! Here it is, all you need to know about the HIL…
What Is the Hockey India League?
The Hockey India League is a first of its kind professional hockey competition that is organised by Hockey India and has been officially sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The latter has also provided a 30-day window at the beginning of a year so that all top players can participate.
Its first season took place in 2013 and the current (third) 2015 season stretched for a period of 30 days from 22nd January to 22nd February.
The tournament initially began with 5 teams with the number now stretched to 6. The plan is to have 8 teams by 2016 and 10 by 2018.
The current franchises are:
|· NAME||· OWNERS||· CITY|
|Punjab Warriors||Jaypee Group||Jalandhar|
|Delhi Wave riders||Wave Group||Delhi|
|Dabang Mumbai||DoIT Sport Management||Mumbai|
|Kalinga Lancers||Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) &Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL)||Bhubaneshwar|
|Ranchi Rays||MS Dhoni and Sahara Adventure Sports Ltd.||Ranchi|
|Uttar Pradesh Wizards||Sahara India||Lucknow|
Kalinga Lancers was the 6th team to join HIL this term.
The third season featured new teams from Mumbai and Ranchi because of the withdrawal of Ranchi Rhinos and Mumbai Magicians who played in the previous term.
Due to recognition of the event by the FIH, almost all top players are able and willing to play in the league.
Some of the top players in the current edition are:
- Sardar Singh (Delhi Waveriders)
- Rupinder Pal Singh (Delhi Waveriders)
- Sandeep Singh (Punjab Warriors)
- PR Sreejesh (Uttar Pradesh Wizards)
- Gurjinder Singh (Kalinga Lancers)
- Arjun Halappa (Dabang Mumbai)
- Glenn Turner (Dabang Mumbai)
- Mathew Swann (Dabang Mumbai)
- Tom Boon (Dabang Mumbai)
- Jamie Dwyer (Punjab Warriors)
- Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays)
- Gonzalo Pellat (Kalinga Lancers)
(Belgium’s Tom Boon: Most expensive player in HIL)
The league has already begun on 22nd February with the first match played between Kalinga Lancers and Ranchi Rays. The group stage consists of 30 matches with each team facing each other twice: One home and one away game.
The Current Season
HIL’s latest season saw intense battles between the teams. The group stage finished on February 19th with the last match being played between Punjab and Delhi.
The team standings after the group stage were:
Punjab Warriors emerged on top of the group stage due to a better goal difference.
Ranchi Rays beat Uttar Pradesh Wizards 9-8 via penalty shootouts, which reached sudden death, to enter the final of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Jaypee Punjab Warriors beat defending champions Delhi Waveriders 2-0 in the second semifinal of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL).
In the third position match, Delhi Wave riders beat UP Wizards 2-1 to claim the third spot.
The Ranchi Rays beat Punjab Warriors 2-2 (3-2 in the penalty shootout) to win the 2015 Hockey India League and a mega prize of 2.5 crores!
MS Dhoni, co-owner of the Rays was elated on his team’s performance. (Both Cricket and Hockey.) It seems as though these days nothing can go wrong for him!
Ranchi Rays’ Star player and their skipper – Ashley Jackson won the Player of the Tournament award for his consistently brilliant performances.
Hockey has been India’s most successful sport in the past and thanks to the HIL that we can relive the game, relive the past in a different style. Kudos to Hockey India and FIH for such a wonderful tournament.
By Yash Jain