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HI plans to revive HIL in late 2024 or early 2025 in new avatar for both men and women

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New Delhi, July 2 (PTI): The much-anticipated Hockey India League (HIL) is set to return in a new avatar next year or in early 2025 with Hockey India setting its sight on reviving the franchise-based league after a hiatus of seven years.

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The HIL, which was suspended in 2017 due to financial issues and non-cooperation from team owners, is expected to be held after the Paris Olympics and will feature an event for the women for the first time.

The new HI body under Olympian Dilip Tirkey plans to rejuvenate the hockey scenario in the country by providing exposure to budding players through the HIL.

HI has requested the International Hockey Federation (FIH) for a window to conduct the tournament next year and is awaiting a response from the world body.

“We haven’t got any window as yet but we have asked FIH for a window. We have asked a window after the Oympics, sometime in December next year or January in 2025,” Tirkey told PTI in an exclusive interaction.

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“We are still waiting for official communication from FIH.

“We are planning to conduct the HIL for both men and women this time. Earlier it used to be just for men but we want our women players to get the exposure too.”

As per HI’s plans, the revamped HIL will have eight men and four women’s teams.

HI has also roped in Big Bang Media Ventures as its commercial and marketing partner agency.

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“In men there would be eight teams, while in women there would be four teams,” Tirkey said.

“Big Bang is our commercial partner. They are looking into all the formalities and working on war-footing to revive the league.

“HIL will provide exposure to young players of the country. It’s a big platform for them because all the top players of the world would participate in it. They will gain valuable experience by rubbing shoulders with the best of world hockey,” he added.

It has been leant that HI is scheduled to hold a meeting with all the stakeholders of the game, including its commercial partners on July 5 here to decide the future course of action about the league.

HI secretary general Bhola Nath Singh also confirmed that HIL will be introduced in a new version next year and the national federation is leaving no stone unturned to make the league a big success.

“HIL is our baby and we want to bring it it back in a much bigger way. It was one of our election agenda and we are working on war-footing to make it a big success,” Bhola Nath said.

“The new HIL will be launched in a much bigger and grand scale than its previous version.”

The HIL, founded in 2013, was played between six teams, with the regular season lasting two months from January to February, with each team playing 10 games.

The top four teams at the end of the season moved into the play-offs, where the championship game decided the HIL winner.

The last champion of the HIL was Kalinga Lancers, who won the tournament in 2017.

Ranchi Rhinos, Delhi Waveriders, Ranchi Rays and Punjab Warriors have also won the league.

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