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Mumbai : Indian hockey fans brace yourselves for the Big League! The inaugural edition of the World Series Hockey will be played from 15 thDecember, 2011 to 22nd January, 2012 and will involve 176 leading players — Indian and International –who will  showcase their  talent in 61 matches  played  across eight cities.

World Series Hockey will be a multi city franchise-based  League with the players  being allocated to the teams based on the internationally accepted and practiced „Draft‟ system.

“The inaugural edition of the league comprises  of  eight teams and players have signed contracts for the next three years,” said Yannick Colaco, COO Nimbus Sport at a press conference at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel

“All India internationals have signed on the dotted line,” Colaco added. “We‟re also extremely pleased to  confirm the participation of international hockey stars  from Australia, Argentina, Spain, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Pakistan, New Zealand and South Korea.

At the Press Conference, World Series Hockey also revealed the eight Team captains who are Indian Internationals  Sardara Singh, Adrian D’Souza, Arjun Halappa and Prabhjot Singh;  Brent Livermore from Australia, Pakistan‟s  Rehan Butt, former

Spanish captain Rodrigo Garza and Argentinian “All Star” Lucas VilaSpeaking on the occasion Harish Thawani,  Executive  Chairman,  NimbusCommunications Ltd, expressed delight at the  overwhelming support for the World Series Hockey showered by the players and exuded confidence that the WSH will change the complete landscape of hockey in India.

176 leading players sign for the Big League Eight teams will vie for supremacy from Dec. 15- Jan 22 Indian & global stars to exhibit their skills across eight citiesMatches to be televised live across 30 countries  for the first time in hockey, these players will be financially  rewarded and will  have a global platform to exhibit their skills.  The legacy created  by the upgrade of hockey infrastructure  across the country will benefit the sport of Hockey for generations to come,” he said.RK Shetty, President, Indian Hockey Federation is upbeat on World Series Hockey. “It will certainly do wonders for our National sport,” he said. The league, he felt, would give youngsters an opportunity to soak up all the styles, techniques and nuances of a sport that never ceases to evolve, besides bonding with the top stars.

Shetty added that “The tussle for supremacy will present intense clashes and draw fans back to the stadiums,” Some of the Indian and global stars who will be seen in action in World Series Hockeyinclude Lucas Villa and Pedro Ibarra from Argentina, Pakistan‟s Rehan Butt and Shakeel Abbasi along with Rodrigo Garza (Spain), Brent Livermore (Australia), Jiwa Mohan (Malaysia) and Sung Min Lee (South Korea), India‟s Rajpal Singh, Sandeep Singh, Adrian D‟Souza, Sardara Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Arjun Halappa, Diwakar Ram, Bharat Chetri, Dhananjay Mahadik, Shivendra Singh, Mandeep Antil, S.V. Sunil, Roshan Minz, William Xalxo and Prabodh Tirkey. The star studded line up ensures the league will be vibrant and competitive, and focus the global spotlight on India.

World Series Hockey has  also  confirmed  six of the eight hosting cities for the first edition. The confirmed participating cities are  Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

The slots for the two remaining cities will be finalized from a shortlist of the following: Bhopal, Pune,  Rourkela,  Ranchi, Manipur, Lucknow and Kolkata.

You can contact the Author at  nr_indran@rediffmail.com

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