HIL 2017 to begin on January 21
New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Hockey India (HI) on Tuesday announced the schedule for the fifth edition of the Coal India Hockey India League (HIL) which will be held from January 21 to February 26.
The opening game will be held in Mumbai between hosts Dabang Mumbai and former champions Ranchi Rays. The match will follow the opening ceremony.
The semi-finals and the final, as is the tradition, will be hosted at the defending champions' home ground, in this case the Jaypee Punjab Warriors' stadium at Chandigarh.
During the league phase, the matches will begin at 7 p.m. Only one match will take place in a day during the league phase, while during the knock-out stage, two matches per day will be held.
The HIL 2016 closed bid for the 2017 edition took place on November 16. Gurbaj Singh was the first player to go in the bid for $99,000 to Ranchi Rays.
Among the foreign players it was German forward Christopher Ruhr who went to Ranchi Rays, securing their second player at $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, HIL chairman 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 HIL 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."