The Coal India Ltd Hockey India League (HIL) is in its 4th edition with Dabang Mumbai playing in its second consecutive season. The Jay Stacy-coached side will be looking to challenge for the title having made wholesome changes to the squad.
Here are 5 interesting things about Dabang Mumbai you may not know:
1. Ownership and kabaddi connection
Dabang Mumbai Hockey Club is owned by the sports wing of DoIT Creations Group - DoIT Sports Management. The company also owns the Delhi-based Star Sports Pro Kabaddi franchise – Dabang Delhi. The kabaddi club was part of both the seasons of the unique kabaddi league with stars like Kashiling Adake and Ravinder Pahal starring for them.
2. Home Stadium and the history
The Alphas play their home matches at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The stadium is owned by Bombay Hockey Association and was earlier called the Bombay Hockey Association Stadium. The Mahindra Hockey Stadium played host to the 1982 Men's Hockey World Cup, where host nation India finished 5th. The Stadium is also the home of World Series Hockey club Mumbai Marines.
3. Most expensive players
Having failed to make the semis of the world's biggest hockey league last season, Dabang Mumbai retained just 3 players for the 4th edition of the HIL. The auction which was held in September 2015 saw the Alphas bid heavily to build a strong spine for the team.
Most expensive forward – Florian Fuchs became the most expensive forward (2nd most expensive overall) in the tournament when he was bought by the team for a record $96,000.
Most expensive defender – Dabang Mumbai shelled out $81,000 for young Gurmail Singh, making him the joint most expensive defender at the tournament, alongside established international Sandeep Singh.
Most expensive goalkeeper – David Harte was retained by the Alphas for a whopping $67,000 which put him in the record books as the most expensive goalkeeper at the HIL.
4. Replacements in the squad
Luck hasn't been on the Alphas' side as they suffered a few setbacks in the lead-up to the tournament. Injuries to key players Nikkin Thimmaiah, Kieran Govers and Shea McAleese ruled the trio out of the tournament. Nikkin was named as the captain earlier while Kieran is one of the best forwards on the planet. However, they brought in able replacements in Diwakar Ram and Australian duo Andrew Philpott and Dylan Wotherspoon to ensure the quality in the team does not go down.
5. Unique celebration
One very cool fact about the Alphas is the way they celebrate their goals, replicating the new logo of the team for this season. The logo, as you may have observed has wings coming out of it and the players join their hands together at the thumbs with their fingers pointing outwards to celebrate a goal. They have adapted this celebration for the 2016 season of the world’s biggest hockey league.
Here is a picture of them practicing their celebration in training:
Hope to see a lot of this celebration.Published 22 Jan 2016, 16:31 IST