Players hope for HIL to be back

Players hope for HIL to be back

When Hockey India came out with the announcement that its ambitious Hockey India League (HIL) won't be held next year, it was met with consternation from players and the mood was no different at the ongoing World League Final here.

Earlier this year, HI said the sixth edition of HIL will not take place as the event needed a fresh outlook and the packed 2018 international calendar would have restricted the participation of top players. However, reports also emerged that a few franchises were incurring losses and expressed their inability to continue. Also, while HI still maintains that the event will return in 2019, a year when FIH will be launching its own Pro League, there's still no clarity about the future of HIL.

"I think, first of all, it's an incredible league," said Argentine star Gonzalo Peillat. "The league did a lot to the players. We get good money from it and we can help our families. I've saved that money and would like to build a house with that. The plans are going to be delayed for a couple of years. I hope the league comes back again."

German ace Florian Fuchs, a major draw in the country, too expressed disappointment that the league won't be happening next year. "I played for Dabang Mumbai last couple of years and I enjoyed my time here. So I'm sad it won't be coming back next time. I think for every international player associated with the league it's going to be sad. I did travel but I have also invested. I think it's always the smart decision to invest. I am really happy and grateful that I have got the chance to earn money through playing hockey in India."

Players not only became richer financially but experience wise as well. Like how cricket's Indian Premier League helped forge friendship between players of different nationalities and gave an opportunity for domestic talent to rub shoulders with international stars, HIL changed the dynamics of hockey.

"What was special about it was you get to meet many, many people who all come from different nationalities and cultures," offered Belgium's young star Arthur van Doren. "I look back fondly on the time I had and I hope to come back at some time in the future. I would actually say it has made me a better player and a person. It would be a big setback if HIL doesn't return.

"Like I said, it's something really unique in the hockey calendar. I would advise everyone to come and play in India because there is nothing like it. European hockey is a bit more structured and there is a bit more control. In Indian hockey, like in Australian hockey, it's a bit more up and down. It's like a running a race. It's based more on skill."

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry