Will the Hero Hockey India League change the game?

final hero HIL logoEverybody following international tophockey was very excited last year with the birth of the Hero Hockey India League (HIL) in India. A completely new concept for our sport based upon the immensely successful IPL in cricket. The concept is simple:

  • 6 professional teams attached to a city or region all over India
  • teams owned by their sponsor(s) with multi million dollar budgets
  • every team has the same budget to compose their 25 player team, 15 Indian players and 10 international players
  • players are “bought” through an auction where teams can bid on the players they want
  • a short one month competition where all teams play each other in home & away games followed by semi-finals and finals
  • during the game only 5 international players are allowed on the pitch at the same time
  • the competition is backed by strong marketing and media presence.

The idea behind all of this is to help resurrect the former hockey giant India to international standards… and they’re doing a great job according to me.

stadium-pixLast year the competition had to start with only 5 teams, because the 6th sponsor could not be found in time. But 5 teams were created, 125 players were bought of which 50 of the best in the world and in a typical Indian managed chaos the competition was launched. In several of the cities the stadiums were packed and almost 70 million (!!!) people watched it on TV. The final was played before a stadium packed in true Indian style with people climbing on top of the roof to get a glance. This year the league found their 6th sponsor and team, the Kalinga Lancers, and when they played two home games yesterday and today their stadium (see picture) for 15.000 was filled to max capacity two nights in a row and what a crowd… The vibe they pass on to the players is magical. The pre-game shows are in true Bollywood style and, fireworks after every game and Indian enthusiasm among the TV commentators add to the spectacle.

Of course a lot is still up for improvement, but hats off to the visionairs who came up with the concept and to those making the dream come true… It has the potential to change our game! Even the renowned Dutch “Hoofdklasse” has realised now it might be time to take a good look at their own competition format and just maybe it would be time to rethink some of it to prevent becoming a dinosaur…

When will Belgian hockey have the guts to move away from conservatism? Today we have a tendency to look too much to the past and stick with what we know in Belgian hockey, preventing for example the top players in our own competition (Belgian & foreigners) to be a part of this professional competition.  I fear we still have too much the mentality to stay with what we know and what has worked in the past. Well… the world is changing and so should our sport if we want to continue on the way up. Belgian hockey has made great strides towards the top of the world these last years. Let’s not be afraid of the new and embrace the progress of our game. Yes it might be a challenge to reconcile the ambitions of tophockey and the grassroots level, but saying “no” seldom is the right answer when change come your way…

Let’s embrace change, let’s celebrate hockey!

🎙Studio Hockey Podcast is all about (top) hockey from all over the world. All podcasts in English.

Jason McCracken & Marc Coudron : the future of hockey
  • Jason McCracken & Marc Coudron : the future of hockey

    Jason McCracken & Marc Coudron : the future of hockey

    Mar 27, 2017 •

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** A very special edition for Hockey5.TV aired live on 2017-03-27. Instead of top players we had a talk with two top administrators for our game of hockey. Jason McCracken is the newly appointed CEO of the FIH, the international hockey federation. Marc Coudron is the…

  • The future of hockey

    The future of hockey

    Mar 27, 2017 • 00:44:13

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** We discuss the future of hockey with Jason McCracken, CEO for the FIH and Marc Coudron, president of the Belgian hockey federation and board member at the FIH. We talk about the new event the FIH will launch for 2019, the impact of this on…

  • Manu Stockbroeckx over Bloemendaal en de Red Lions

    Manu Stockbroeckx over Bloemendaal en de Red Lions

    Oct 10, 2017 • 00:42:12

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Onze wekelijkse talkshow heeft deze week Manu Stockbroeckx te gast, net gekwalificeerd voor de #KO16 van de #EHL vorig weekend met zijn club Bloemendaal. Presentators Floris Geerts & Ernst Baart. Ook te zien op video : https://studiohockey.com/video/hockey5tv/manu-stockbroeckx/

  • Xavier Reckinger over de start van seizoen 2017-2018

    Xavier Reckinger over de start van seizoen 2017-2018

    Oct 2, 2017 • 00:40:24

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Bij de start van het nieuwe seizoen 2017-2018 praten we met Xavier Reckinger over zijn nieuwe carrière als coach bij Racing, over de start van het seizoen in België, de aankomende EHL en de transitie van speler naar coach. Met als vanouds Floris Geerts als…

  • Robert van der Horst about EHL and more

    Robert van der Horst about EHL and more

    May 8, 2017 • 00:30:09

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Robert van der Horst from HC Oranje-Rood talks about the EHL and the upcoming Final 4 for them. Mats Grambüsch from HC Rot Weiss Köln was supposed to join in but had some technical difficulties. Presentation by Floris Geerts and Ernst Baart. Also available on…

  • Monologue: The end of hockey...

    Monologue: The end of hockey...

    Jul 5, 2018 • 00:12:19

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Monologue by Ernst Baart on the so called “end of hockey”… or at least the end of hockey as we know it. Read all about it at be-hockey.com, as well as the answer from Thierry Weil, CEO at the FIH.

  • Simon Letchford about play off and EHL with Racing

    Simon Letchford about play off and EHL with Racing

    May 15, 2017 • 00:36:55

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** English born coach Simon Letchford talks about the end of his last season at the helm of Racing, the play off, the EHL and his move to the coaching staff of the Red Panthers, the national women’s team of Belgium.

  • Xavier Reckinger en Tommy Willems

    Xavier Reckinger en Tommy Willems

    Apr 10, 2017 • 00:28:05

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Xavier Reckinger haalt met Herakles de play off en Tommy Willems kreeg met Leuven een pak slaag van de ploeg van zijn vader. Presentatie in handen van Floris Geerts en Ernst Baart.

  • Thomas Briels en Amaury Keusters

    Thomas Briels en Amaury Keusters

    Mar 20, 2017 • 00:41:48

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Briels van Dragons en Keusters van Herakles praten bij over de Belgische competitie en de Red Lions… Presentator van dienst is Floris Geerts, bijgestaan door Ernst Baart.

  • Cédric Charlier and Florent Van Aubel

    Cédric Charlier and Florent Van Aubel

    Apr 3, 2017 • 00:40:25

    **Estimated reading time: 3 minutes** Charlier from Racing and Van Aubel talk about their competition games and the Red Lions. Hosted by Floris Geerts and Ernst Baart. Talk held in the French language.

🎙Every Friday during hockey season a new episode on Belgian top hockey by Floris Geerts. All podcasts in Dutch.
🎙De Hockey Filosoof is a podcast in the Dutch language with monologues from Ernst Baart about (international) hockey.