Hockey, they say, is in the Lucknowites' blood. It was evident by the kind of enthusiasm among sports-loving people on the eve of the Hockey India League inaugural match, in Lucknow on Friday.
With Friday being the last day to buy tickets for the UP Wizard vs Delhi Waveriders match, thousands of fans were seen flocking the ticket counters, opened across the city.
Inamul Haq, a 65-year-old former hockey great who played alongside the legendary KD Singh 'Babu', was also seen queuing up at one of the counters. "Despite being a heart patient, I've never missed a single hockey match here in the last two decades," said Haq.
The craze among fans is understandable as it is after 17 years that the city is witnessing a star-studded hockey match - the last tournament held here was the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup in 1996. In these intervening years, the Dhyan Chand Stadium has only been used for events like the All-India KD Singh 'Babu' tournament.
The UP Wizards are expected to give a tough challenge to their rivals after scoring a thrilling 2-1 win against Punjab Warriors at Jalandhar on Thursday night.