final hero HIL logoTomorrow, the 22nd of January 2015, marks the start of the third edition of the Hero Hockey India League! A lot has been said and written about this special competition already… The idea behind this initiative of the Indian Hockey Federation was to boost the sport in their great country. Although Indian media and hockey followers still like to dwell in the past, it must be said I do have the impression it worked. Granted, I’m not exactly a connaisseur of Indian hockey and the Indian sport scene so it is difficult to judge what the impact has been in India, but judging by the recent progression made by their national team it did do some good.

I am however sure about the impact it has had on international hockey. It allows international professional players to invest in their hockey career as a full pro during the short span of years they are fit & strong enough to play at that level. Still not enough to focus solely on their hockey career though because they will not make enough money from their sport to be able to retire after their sporting career like pro football players, tennisplayers or for example cricketplayers (still the number 1 sport in India). So yes, pro hockey players still have to make room for studies and/or starting up “regular” careers… But this makes them generally speaking also more interesting people, so I don’t consider this to be a major problem. However the sponsors behind the HIL have made it possible for the international top players to at least make a living while giving it all for their sport. And for that I’m grateful… as a father of one of these young pro players, but also as a hockey enthusiast in general because this helps to lift the level of the game in general.

So join me these next few weeks and enjoy the enthusiasm India has given to international hockey. All games are televised live for millions of viewers in Asia. The rest of the world is able to follow the HIL behind their computer screens thanks to Star Sports doing a great job: click here to watch.

january-22Would you like to add the schedule of the HIL to your agenda?

Let’s enjoy hockey…