After hosting five successful editions that generated tremendous interest from hockey fans across the globe, the sixth edition of Hockey India League will be hosted in 2019.
The tournament's Governing Committee, comprising representatives of Hockey India and other stakeholders, have unanimously decided to schedule the next edition of India's only professional hockey league in 2019 instead of 2018 January and February.
"After five years of successfully organizing the Hockey India League which has greatly helped unearth talent and significantly improved the national team's performances at both junior and senior level, we felt that it is time to review the league, evaluate its success and comeback with a fresh outlook that will benefit the development of the sport further and our franchises and stakeholders," stated Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, Chairman Hockey India League and Secretary General, Hockey India.
"This decision was made after consultation with all our commercial partners and meeting the contractual obligations of all parties involved," he added.
Ahmad further clarified that this will only be a temporary discontinuation and that the Hockey India League will return in 2019.
"Due to a conflict in dates of the schedule of Hockey India League 2018 and a major international tournament which was likely to restrict the participation of international players, it was decided that the best solution was to postpone the conduct of the sixth season of the league," he said.
"I want to emphasize that we want to resume the League in 2019 albeit with greater prospects to make it more viable financially not only for the stakeholders but also for the players," he added.
The Hockey India League in these past five years has given rise to players who have gone on to make a name for themselves in World Hockey. The league significantly contributed in the success of the Indian junior men's team that won the 2016 Junior World Cup while the Indian men's team advanced in the world ranking to a commendable No.6 position.
The foreign players too hugely benefited with the league as it has helped them earn monetary benefits playing in the month-long league alongside players from different countries.
" Hockey India League has undoubtedly been a fantastic platform for players from around the world to showcase their talent and the participating teams thoroughly enjoyed the experience over the last five seasons. The Governing Committee would like to thank everyone involved with the HIL and all those who participated in the first five seasons of the tournament," expressed Ahmad. (ANI)