Hockey India League, which started on the lines of cricket based IPL as an FIH sanctioned League, turned out to be a game changer for the sport of field hockey in the country. It was introduced in response to the World Series Hockey introduced by the rebel Indian Hockey Federation. It catapulted India’s status from being the favorite whipping boys of the west to a formidable unit.
The 2013 edition, which was launched with just 5 teams by Hockey India (HI), was another indication in the same direction. In the inaugural edition, the following five teams participated in the tournament:-
- Delhi Wave Riders – Led by Sardara Singh
- Sahara Uttar Pradesh Wizards – Led by Vokkaliga Ramchandra Raghunath
- Jaypee Punjab Warriors – Led by Jamie Dwyer
- Dabur Mumbai Magicians – Led by Sandeep Singh
- Ranchi Rhinos – Led by Moritz Furste
The five teams played against each other in a round robin league of 12 matches each that began from 14 January. After the round robin league, except for Mumbai Magicians, the rest proceeded to the semifinals, where Ranchi Rhinos and Jaypee Punjab Warriors emerged victorious, defeating Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Delhi Wave Riders by 4-2 & 3-1 respectively.
The Ranchi Rhinos went on to win the inaugural edition of the championship after defeating the Jaypee Punjab Warriors by a 2-1 scoreline. Uttar Pradesh had a consolation win in its kitty as they defeated the Delhi Wave Riders by a 4-3 scoreline in the third place play-off.
Following were the awards given in the inaugural edition:-
- Player of the Tournament –Sardara Singh
- Upcoming Player of the Tournament – Mandeep Singh [Ranchi Rhinos]
- Leading Goal Scorer – Sandeep Singh [Jaypee Punjab Warriors]
Photo credits: Hockey India League (HIL)