Hockey India on Tuesday announced the schedule for the fifth season of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) in 2017. The tournament will span over a month from 21st January to 26th February 2017. The opening game of the 5th edition will be held in Mumbai.
The opening game will be played between the host team Dabang Mumbai and Ranchi Rays. The match will follow the opening ceremony. The Coal India HIL has hosted four successful seasons already, and each edition has seen Champions from different cities and franchises indicating a level playing field for the tournament.
Over the period there has also been a sustained growth in the league itself. The 2016 edition saw a 40% increase in viewership over the 2016 season of the Coal India Hockey India League.
The Coal India Hockey India League 2016 closed bid for the 2017 season took place on the 16th November earlier this month.
Gurbaj Singh was the first player to go in the bid for USD 99,000 to Ranchi Rays. Among the foreign players, it was a German forward, Christopher Ruhr who went to Ranchi Rays, securing their second player at USD 75,000. Other notable bids were for Tom Craig (Kalinga Lancers), Robert van der Horst (Jaypee Punjab Warriors) and Seve Van Ass (Uttar Pradesh Wizards).
Speaking about the announcement of the schedule, Chairman Coal India Hockey India League, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra said, “The Coal India Hockey India League has been a huge success in how it has helped popularise the sport across the country.
“It has not just been a great spectacle for fans and players, but also a great model to demonstrate sustained growth for the sport. We hope to raise the bar again this season, by increasing reach to more fans via innovative mediums as well as better revenues for players and sponsors.
“At the heart of its concept, the Hockey India League benefits our Indian players’ development immensely by allowing them to play alongside some the best players in the world hence learning new techniques that go a long way during the hockey season.”