The revival of the Hockey India League (HIL) was one of the top priorities for Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey ever since he assumed office in 2022. Now, the HIL is set to be revamped and make a grand return next year or in early 2025.
“We have asked a window after the Oympics, sometime in December next year or January in 2025... In men there would be eight teams, while in women there would be four teams,” Tirkey told PTI.
Seeking inspiration from the successful module of the Indian Premier League, the HIL was initially introduced in 2013. It played a pivotal role in the resurgence of Indian hockey as it provided a platform for India’s hockey youth to play against the world’s best and gain invaluable experience. It was instrumental in the early careers of many in the men’s national team today.
The HIL was brought to an abrupt halt in 2017. The league was temporarily disbanded due to financial constraints and lingering issues with team owners. But after a seven-year hiatus, the league is set to make a return. But this time, there are also plans to launch a Women’s HIL.
At a time when both women and men’s Indian hockey teams are achieving silverware in global competitions and elevating Indian hockey to its former glory, the revival of the HIL is of utmost importance. The HIL will undoubtedly provide much needed exposure, groom talent, and cultivate the untapped potential of up-and-coming Indian hockey players. Additionally, the return of the HIL would certainly strum the rekindled passion of Indian hockey fans nationwide.
The new module of the franchise-based HIL is expected to return after the 2024 Paris Olympics comes to a close. Hockey India (HI) intends on re-launching a new era of the HIL with eight men teams and four women teams.
Although HI would like to resume the HIL at the earliest, it needs a time window that is approved by the FIH and doesn’t clash with other major international tournaments.
New Financial Avenues for the HIL
In order to avoid the financial woes previously witnessed in the league, HI roped in Big Bang Commercial as its exclusive commercial and marketing partner in April, earlier this year.
Ravneet Gill and Madhu Mantena, Founders of Big Bang Media stated, “The HIL has been a global benchmark for the sport and we are pleased to be a trusted partner for Hockey India in managing the commercial aspects of the league. We are privileged to be part of this incredible and important initiative and look forward to support the launch of a successful league.”