Delhi: With a lot of new facets in its upcoming fourth season, the Coal India Hockey India League, the flagship event of Hockey India and sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is all set to enthrall hockey enthusiasts with the best of hockey action from across the globe. In a gala event today at the National capital, all the captains from the six franchisees came together to unveil the much desired Coal India Hockey India League Trophy.
Speaking on the occasion Jaypee Punjab Warriors Captain, Sardar Singh Said, “This Coal India Hockey India League is very critical for all of us this year, as most of the international players will be playing here, and it is up to us to watch them carefully and prepare ourselves for the Olympics later this year. It’s a proud moment for me to lead the Jaypee Punjab Warriors team this year and I am hopeful of doing justice to my role.”
Defending Champions Ranchi Rays Captain, Ashley Jackson further added, “We are the excited to enter the field as the defending champions and all our opponents are equally competitive, hence we cannot take any day lightly.”
The tournament this year has much to cheer for not just the players but also the audience. The first being, Coal India Ltd. coming on board as the title sponsor. This is followed by double cash rewards for individual performances this season and brand new regulations making the whole tournament more competitive and exciting. To add to the viewers delight, Star Sports, the broadcast partner has introduced and reinforced high tech production elements to enhance the viewing experience.
Dabang Mumbai captain, Nikkin Thimmaiah added, “We have a lot to learn from the international players at the Coal India Hockey India league, and to play in the league is a completely different experience, which all of us look forward every year.”
Kalinga Lancers captain Moritz Fuerste said, “I missed the last season and hence I was very keen to be a part of this year’s Coal India Hockey India League. This is a perfect beginning to the Olympic year as we get to play against the best players and an amazing crowd which adds to our excitement and performance.”
The tournament, featuring the best talent across the world will see a total of 34 matches being played across six cities of the country involving six franchise teams from 18th January – 21st February 2016. The opening match of the tournament will be played between the Kalinga Lancers, who made the biggest buy of the season in German, Moritz Fuerste and Uttar Pradesh Wizards who were able to draft in the young Indian forward Akashdeep Singh. The match will be staged at Bhubaneswar on Monday 18th January 2016. The defending champions Ranchi Rays will open their account against the Jaypee Punjab Warriors in Chandigarh on 19th January 2016.
Delhi Waveriders captain Simon Child further added, “We are looking forward to the 2016 season of the Coal India Hockey India League. This is a new team and we are still working on our strategies and our hopeful of a great performance this year.”
Uttar Pradesh Wizards captain VR Raghunath said, “The first week of the season is going to play a critical role in deciding the way forward for all the teams. Our aim would be to score as many points as we can and the rule changes only add to the excitement of the league.”
The six Franchises battling for supremacy in the richest field hockey league in the world are Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Delhi Waveriders, Kalinga Lancers, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Dabang Mumbai and Ranchi Rays. This tournament will also be one of the last opportunities for the teams and players to test their mettle against each other before the Olympics.
As a part of a long-term agreement with FIH and Hockey India, Star Sports is producing the Coal India Hockey India League with premium production facilities and technology like Libero, innovative team composition graphics, goalkeeper matrix and other graphical enhancements.
A world feed crew of 150, including top of the line camera operators, replay artists, graphic operators and a Dolby Sound team, will be showcasing this event live to the world. Production unit will feature super-slow motion replays, goalkeeper matrix, real time attack-defence analysis; Libero player tracking in replays to help deliver a world class viewing experience for the Coal India Hockey India League. The channel’s experts and sports commentary team comprises some of the most eminent names of Hockey folklore.
The Coal India Hockey India League will be televised LIVE from 18th January 2016 on Star Sports 2 & Star Sports HD 2 in English and Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD 3 in Hindi and on Star’s Digital platform, hotstar.