What is the Hockey India League?
- The Hockey India League (HIL), organised by Hockey India is a professional league for field hockey in India.
- It has been sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH).
- The tournament is played on a home-and-away basis culminating into play-offs.
- It started its first season in 2013 modestly with just 5 teams competing, with a plan of having 10 teams by 2018.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH), in order to ensure that all players worldwide can compete in the HIL, assigns a 30 day period at the beginning of each year during which no international hockey events are held.
The 2013 HIL season
- The maiden season of the HIL was held from 14 January to 10 February 2013.
- Pakistani players had to return home before the start of the season due to protests by the Hindu Yuwak Sabha and Shiv Sena.
- The 5 competing teams were Delhi Waveriders, Mumbai Magicians, Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rhinos and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
- Ranchi Rhinos won the tournament defeating Delhi Waveriders 2-1.
The 2014 HIL season
- The second edition or season of the HIL ran from 25 January to 23 February 2014.
- This season saw the entry of a new team into the original 5-team tournament - the Kalinga Lancers.
- Unlike the first season, the second season saw no controversy of note.
- The tournament was won by Delhi Waveriders who beat Punjab Warriors 3-1 in a penalty shoot out.
The 2015 HIL season
- The third season of the HIL was held from 22 January to 22 February 2015.
- It saw two existing teams, Mumbai Magicians and one-time champion Ranchi Rhinos, get replaced by two new teams Dabang Mumbai and Ranchi Rays respectively.
- The prize money for the 2015 season was declared to be ₹2.5 crore.
- Ranchi Rays won the tournament beating Punjab Warriors 3-2 on penalties.
Cricketers promote hockey
Two of the teams in the HIL are owned by famous Indian cricketers. Ranchi Rays is jointly owned by MS Dhoni and Sahara India Pariwar, while Uttar Pradesh Wizards is owned by Suresh Raina and Sahara India Pariwar.
New rules for HIL 2016
- Organisers Hockey India announced new rules for HIL 2016 making the game more attack-centric. The main changes are listed below.
- Field goals are to be counted as 2 goals.
- Penalty stroke goals resulting from a deliberate foul are also to be counted as 2 to discourage rough-tackling and fouling.
- These changes will also affect the auction as it will increase the demand for forwards.
Player auctions for HIL 2016 coming up
- The player auction for the fourth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) is scheduled to take place on 17 September.
- It will see 277 (135 Indian, 142 foreign) players auctioned as the 6 teams try to build their squads.
- Each team is allowed a squad of 20 players - 12 Indian, 8 foreign.
- The auction will be conducted by renowned auctioneer Bob Hayton.
Team budgets for upcoming HIL Auction
The team with the largest budget is Dabang Mumbai ($563,000), followed by Kalinga Lancers ($520,000), Delhi Waveriders ($514,000), Jaypee Punjab Warriors ($472,000), Uttar Pradesh Wizards ($441,000) and reigning champions Ranchi Rays ($337,000).
Key highlights of Hockey India League Auction 2015
- The HIL Auction 2015 saw some big signings with Germany's Fuerste getting $105,000 from Kalinga Lancers.
- Germans Florian Fuchs and Tobias Hauke were both bought for $96,000 by Mumbai and UP respectively.
- The costliest Indian player was Akashdeep Singh bought for $84,000 by UP, followed by Sandeep Singh ($81,000) bought by Ranchi, Gurmail Singh ($81,000) by Mumbai and Gurwinder Singh Chandi by Punjab ($75,000).