Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), India’s apex body for hockey management, has announced that Chandigarh will host the second edition of the Premier Hockey League (PHL) starting from January 5, 2006. ESPN-STAR Sports, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of marketing, producing and broadcasting the hockey league for a period of 10 years, will showcase PHL live and exclusive on its network.
Speaking on the occasion, K P S Gill, President, Indian Hockey Federation, said, “The inaugural PHL had set new benchmarks as the world took notice of a completely new, revolutionary league. This year, we will raise the bar even further with new innovations. Our aim is to make ‘PHL’ the most novel tournament ever in the world of hockey.”
According to R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, “PHL 2005 was a viewing spectacle with comprehensive match analysis, pre- and post-match shows, bi-lingual commentary in English and Hindi. This year, ESPN-STAR Sports will also introduce the concept of Third Umpire for the first time in the history of hockey. We are still in the process of finalising the process of implementing the new concept. I will be able to share the complete details at a later date, but I am sure hockey lovers will appreciate the new initiative.”
IHF also announced important changes in the format of PHL. The changes have been made after an analysis of the inaugural league, which was held at Hyderabad from January 13, 2005 till February 13, 2005. The most notable change is the introduction of the Third Umpire for the first time.
In addition, Tier I in PHL 06 will have a ‘Best of Three Finals’, unlike last year, where the winner was decided after a round robin league. The top two teams from Tier I, after the round robin league, will compete in the ‘Best of Three’ finals. Maurits Hendricks, the incumbent coach of the Spanish team, has been re-appointed consultant for PHL.