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Hockey India mulls over reviving HIL

Over the moon: Kalinga Lancers players celebrate their HIL triumph in 2018.

When Hockey India League was suspended indefinitely in 2018 after five editions, it was an abrupt end to not just an ambitious plan to glamorise and popularise the sport in the country but also to a process that saw Indian players not just developing their skills but also expanding their vision and becoming more confident.

While there have been sporadic rumours of the HIL being revived with even reports of it coming back as a five-a-side event, nothing concrete has happened on ground. Now, however, there are clear signs that the league is one of the priorities for new Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey.

“We are trying to get everything finalised and in place to restart the Hockey India League. It is something we are serious about. We are also discussing with the International Hockey Federation about having a separate and fixed window for the HIL in the international calendar. In fact, we are also keen on a women’s league. We hope to have concrete details very soon, maybe in the next couple of months once the World Cup is over. If everything works out fine, we hope to hold it towards the end of next year after the Paris Olympics,” Mr. Tirkey exclusively told The Hindu.

While there is no official confirmation, sources confirmed that after cricket and kabaddi, Adani Sportsline is one of the leading corporate houses in talks for owning one of the franchises. “Even JSW have been positive in their intentions and their association with the World Cup is indicative of that. But things are still in developmental stage,” sources said.

Tirkey has been focussing on development of hockey at the grassroots since taking over, writing to associations and academies to focus on developing drag-flickers and goalkeepers and bringing in specialised coaches for these.

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