New team means headache for HIL 2018 auction

The next Hockey India League (HIL) auction may be more than six months away, but it’s already causing the teams a couple of headaches.

Published: 03rd March 2017 05:36 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2017 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

Dabang Mumbai-PTI

Dabang Mumbai Blue and Punjab Warriors Yellow in action during the Hockey India League 2017 match in Mumbai on Friday. | PTI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The next Hockey India League (HIL) auction may be more than six months away, but it’s already causing the teams a couple of headaches. Given a new team from Bengaluru is entering the fray, there is going to be a fresh auction, but none of the sides seem to know what will happen with respect to player retention.

Mark Hager, coach of Kalinga Lancers, the 2017 champions, echoed the same thoughts. “We don’t know what are the rules with respect to the auctions,” he said. “If Bangalore comes in as the seventh team, do we keep three Indians and foreigners each? Nobody knows.”

The rules, in its present form, state that a maximum of six (three Indians and three foreigners) can be retained, but chances of the new team agreeing to such a rule seem bleak at the moment. The former Australian international explained why. “If all teams retain three Indians, will the incoming franchise have a good Indian core? There are good overseas athletes to go around all the seven teams, but I’m not sure that’s the case with Indians,” Hager noted.

He is obviously happy to see the league grow, but is understandably sad at the prospect of losing players to other sides. “It’s sad in a way because our team is going to split up. We would like to keep most of the squad together.”

Coach of Dabang Mumbai, Jay Stacy, went further. He hoped Hockey India would revisit rules apropos player retention.

“When you’re trying to build a hockey club, and when the franchise has put a lot of time and energy into the faces of the side, you want to retain the core components. There could be a lot of turnover because you get to retain only six out of 20 players. I’m not sure about the (new) retention levels, and maybe the league will review those things.”

It could certainly spell an end to Mumbai’s idea of betting big on young Indian players. At the 2015 auction, they went big on upcoming Indian players, and their decision to do that was rewarded when five of them went on to become world champions with the junior team last year. Those five played key roles in Mumbai’s march to the final this year.

Skipper Florian Fuchs did touch about it. “I don’t know about the retention of players, but we do have a good foundation with young players. It’s also what the franchise was looking at when they went to the auction.” Six teams will have to do it all over again.

Stay up to date on all the latest Sport news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp