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Hockey Fever Hits The Nation

By Author: Preeti Jagwani
Total Articles: 59

Hockey is considered the national sport of the country. But, very rarely do we see hockey players get their due. This is because most of the sporting tournaments in India are associated with cricket. In fact, many think that cricket is the national game of the country as it is the most followed sport. Besides their annual salary, cricketers earn big bucks while playing in the Indian Premier League and other such tournaments. This is why other sportsmen often feel neglected and some of them have been vocal about this step child treatment. Owing to this, a lot of other leagues have begun in the country. While Mahesh Bhupathi initiated the International Premier Tennis League, the All India Football Federation was instrumental in the formation of the Indian Super League. And if tennis and football have a league of their own, how could hockey be far behind?

The Hockey India League was founded in the year 2013 and the first season was held in that year itself. A total of six teams have been a part of the tournament so far. They are the Delhi Waveriders, the Ranchi Rays, the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, the Uttar Pradesh Wizards, the Dabang Mumbai H.C and the Kalinga Lancers.
Not all of them were initially called this, as the Dabang Mumbai H.C were renamed from the Mumbai Magicians and the Ranchi Rays were earlier known as the Ranchi Rhinos.

The first season was won by the Ranchi franchise as they beat the Delhi Daredevils in the final match. The Delhi team more than made up for that defeat as they took home the trophy in the second season of the Hockey India League. They defeated the Punjab Warriors to win the tournament. With regard to the third season, the Ranchi team was once again victorious and the 2014 winners, Punjab Warriors, ended as runners-up. Coming to the HIL 2016, the same six teams are a part of it.

The season began a few days ago and matches are held in various parts of the country. The cities where the matches are played are Delhi, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Jalandhar, Ranchi and Lucknow. Currently, the Ranchi team are on top of the table and from the looks of it, they are all set to win the tournament this year. While many teams are tied on the same number of points, the Mumbai franchise is struggling. They have lost their first four matches and are sitting on the bottom of the table. The team will have to play their hearts out if they want to make it to the knockout rounds.

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