New Delhi: After being delayed once, the inaugural Hockey India League will take off on January 14 with Delhi Waveriders taking on Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the opening clash of the event that will go on till February 10. The league will feature 34 matches in 28 days and will be played in five franchisee cities -- Delhi, Jalandhar, Lucknow, Mumbai and Ranchi.
The opening ceremony will be held on January 14 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi just before the first match in which Delhi Waveriders will face Jaypee Punjab Warriors, featuring Australian hockey star Jamie Dwyer. Jalandhar will host the second match at Surjit Singh Hockey Stadium where the home team Jaypee Punjab Warriors will face Ranchi Rhinos January 16.
On the same day, Mumbai Magicians will later play their first match in New Delhi against Delhi Waveriders. Uttar Pradesh Wizards will commence their contest against Jaypee Punjab Warriors in Jalandhar January 17. Ranchi Rhinos' Bisra Munda Hockey Stadium will host its first match on January 18 against Mumbai Magicians.
The first home match of Uttar Pradesh Wizards will be played on January 19 against Delhi Waveriders at Guru Gobind Singh Sports College in Lucknow. Mumbaikars will watch their first home match at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium on January 20 against Jaypee Punjab Warriors. The Republic Day will see the clash of titans when Delhi Waveriders will lock their horns with Mumbai Magicians at home and Uttar Pradesh Wizards will try to tame Ranchi Rhinos in Lucknow.
Matches at Delhi, Jalandhar, Mumbai and Ranchi will be played under floodlights while matches in Lucknow will be played during daytime. Play-off semifinal matches will be played on February 9 with the HIL final on February 10. The venue for the semifinals and final is yet to be decided. All the matches will be live on Star Sports.
"We are very pleased to announce the confirmed match schedule for the first ever Hockey India League, which will feature many of the big hockey stars from around the world," Hockey India Secretary General and HIL Chairman Narinder Batra said. "It will be a real treat to hockey fans as they will see the toughest battles among the five teams. We are pretty sure that the HIL will become an unforgettable moment for all players, sponsors and spectators," he added.