Hockey enthusiasts, look out! The fourth season of The Hockey India League (HIL) is here! HIL, which has been around since 2013, organized by Hockey India, started off with 5 teams. It has been an annual event of Hockey India since then. Hockey India is the official body for field hockey in India and is recognized by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
This year’s Hockey India League kicked off today i.e. on Monday,18th January and will continue throughout February, finally concluding with the final on the 21st. This year there are six teams; Delhi Waveriders, Kallinga Lancers, Dabang Mumbai, Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rays, and Uttar Pradesh Wizards, competing for the HIL 2016 trophy.
HIL 2016 has commenced from the city of Bhubaneshwar, the homeground of the Kallinga Lancers. The tournament will start off with the first match between the Uttar Pradesh Wizards and the Kallinga Lancers. Both teams are lead by star players; drag flicker VR Raghunath will be leading the Uttar Pradesh Wizards while the Kallinga Lancers will be led by German midfielder Moritz Fuerste.
The first match is to be held at the Kallinga Stadium which has a capacity of over 5000. As the Kallinga Lancers will be performing in their homeground, high expectations are in due and the locals are hoping that the host team win the match and make the city proud. Before the match, Mark Hager, Australian star and Head Coach of the Kallinga Lancers, stated:
“We have a good team and the boys over the last one week have really gelled in well, which adds to our advantage. Having said that we cannot underestimate the opponents especially when their team consists of experienced national and international stars. We are working hard and are hopeful that will leave a big smile for our fans in Bhubaneswar post our game tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Wizards are being coached by Roger Van Gent and are expected to perform well, given Gent’s track record. To top it off, this year UP Wizards includes hockey stars like Jamie Dwyer from Australia, Tobias Hauke from Germany, Gonzalo Peillat from Argentina in addition to the local celebrated stars like PR Sreejesh, Akashdeep Singh and Captain VR Raghunath.
The composition of players in this year’s Hockey India League proves to be an interesting one and makes the matches all the more exciting and worth looking forward to! All teams have been working hard and practicing rigorously for the HIL 2016. Now it is up to their performances in the upcoming matches to decide whether their hard work actually pays off. So let’s light up the torch and start off the tournament.
As they say, let the games begin!