LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
· *China one of nine national women**'**s teams confirmed for** new and unique global l**eague*
· *Competition officially named as the* *'**Hockey Pro League**'*
· *Packed stadiums across the world to welcome hockey home*
· *New league designed to* *'**fuel the growth of hockey for years to come**'*
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed that China's women's field hockey team (FIH Hero World Ranking: 8) will participate in the Hockey Pro League, a unique global international team-sport league.
The new league, which is due to launch in January 2019, will see the nine best men's and women's teams from around the world play each other both at home and away every year, across a total of 144 games. The fixtures will take place in national stadiums, week in, week out, from January to June.
China, one of the world's best women's teams, will face Argentina, Australia, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA in the new league.
The 2008 Olympic silver medalists have been a force to be reckoned with on the global hockey stage for the past two decades, winning a bronze medal at the 2002 Hockey World Cup in Perth, Australia; three gold medals at the Asian Games (2002, 2006 and 2010) and a silver in the latest edition of the event in 2014 in Incheon, Korea. They also have a proud history in the Hockey Champions Trophy, winning gold in 2002, silver in 2003 and 2006, and bronze in 2005.
China's women's team have maintained their position among the top 10 in the world in the FIH Hero World Rankings and continue to be a nation that is pushing for success and development, both at elite level and within grassroots hockey.
The announcement of the teams involved follows an extremely competitive candidate evaluation process which saw 13 men's and 12 women's applications submitted by National Associations.
Speaking about this news, FIH CEO Jason McCracken said: "We are delighted to announce the official name and teams who will participate in this game-changing new competition. Whilst world tours and single venue international leagues are played regularly, this is arguably the first of its kind, with national teams playing one-off matches both home and away in venues across the world over six months each year. The Hockey Pro League has been four years in the making and follows an excessive consultation and evaluation process."
He continued: "We strongly believe that this new competition will fuel the growth of our sport for many years to come, significantly increasing revenues for hockey. As a result it will make hockey a career choice for athletes who will regularly be given the opportunity to perform in big, bold, packed and loud venues both in their homeland and overseas. It will also allow fans to engage with more world-class hockey more often, whether on TV or live at their national venue. We now look forward to working on delivering a truly exceptional League whilst also ensuring we raise the standard and profile of our other international competitions across all levels of the sport."
FIH President, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra added: "The Hockey Pro League represents the first major milestone for the Hockey Revolution. It embodies everything our 10-year strategy aims to achieve - making hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. Whilst only nine teams have been selected for each League, the quality of information and enthusiasm shown by those who missed out indicate that our sport is developing in an extremely positive way, which clearly shows that hockey has an exciting future ahead."
News about broadcast partners, schedules and other exciting news, plus further background information about the Hockey Pro League, will be published on FIH.ch over the coming months as well as via FIH Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .
*NOTES TO EDITORS*
*Hockey Pro League FAQ:* http://www.fih.ch/news
*Download Official Launch Videos:* http://bit.ly/2rZjV7V
*For interviews with the FIH CEO, please contact:*
Danny Parker, Communications Manager
+41(0)79-619-77-24*About the International Hockey Federation (FIH)*
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the world governing body for the sport of hockey, recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Founded in 1924, FIH today has 137 member National Associations. For more information on the Hockey Revolution, visit: fih.ch/inside-fih/our-strategy.
*National Association contact:*
*Chinese Hockey Association*
The Chinese Women's National Hockey Team Confirmed for 'Game-changing' 2019 Hockey Pro League
June 11, 2017