The inaugural edition of the Hockey India League (HIL), from January 16, will see five teams competing instead of six as announced by Hockey India. HIL chairman, Narinder Batra, said that they could not get a sixth franchise on board. “Five franchises will take part in the players’ auction tomorrow…it will be difficult to rope in a sixth team.”
He, however, said that the league would be a six-team affair in the second edition. Batra also said he planned to make it an eight-team affair by the fourth edition. “Our plan is to gradually build up.”
On Saturday, the franchises and their advisers were busy making announcements about their teams’ support staff and coaches. Jaypee Punjab Warriors have appointed former Australian coach, Barry Dancer, as head coach, while former India skipper, Zafar Iqbal, will be the advisor. Former international, Jagbir Singh, will be the manager-cum-coach of the team. The Warriors have also picked up Mohammad Riaz in their coaching panel.
Ranchi Rhinos also announced their support staff, giving an indication of the meticulous planning they have been making. Australian exercise physiologist, David Ian John, will be a member of the support staff. South Africa's Gregg Clark will be the head coach, along with two-time Olympian Baljit Singh Saini. Baljit is also the head coach of India's junior men's team. Besides, the Rhinos have appointed David Staniforth as goalkeeping coach.
The Mumbai franchise have nominated Ric Charlesworth as their head coach, while Roelant Oltmans will be the head coach of the Lucknow franchise.
HIL also announced that three-time FIH ‘World Player of The Year’ Teun de Nooijer of the Netherlands would be their third ‘brand ambassador’. Australian Jamie Dwyer and India's Sardar Singh are the other two. Teun de Nooijer, 36, is the world’s most capped player, having played in 453 internationals.