Hockey League team takes new route, seeks ‘bids’ for top posts

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SummaryThe Orissa franchise of the HIL was finalised last month after Hockey India reached an agreement with IDCO and Mahanadi Coalfields.

IN a first in professional sports, the Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd have invited “bids” for appointment of officials to high-ranking posts, including that of chief executive officer (CEO), for its team in the Hockey India League (HIL) — Kalinga Lancers.

The tender invites applications from “highly motivated individuals” for the posts of CEO, manager (finance and accounts), marketing manager, manager (operations) and in-charge, training and facilities. The applications have to be sent by speed post or registered post only. The approach is in sharp contrast to the private players in the league.

The Orissa franchise of the HIL was finalised last month after Hockey India reached an agreement with IDCO and Mahanadi Coalfields. While IDCO is a state-owned public sector unit, Mahanadi Coalfields is a subsidiary of Coal India Limited. All the other franchises in HIL are owned by corporate bigwigs.

While not revealing much about the tender process, IDCO chairman-cum-managing director Vishal Dev said a government arm buying a sports team was not a new concept. “It has happened in sports earlier. If Tata Steel can back football talent, Indian Railways and Air India nurture hockey and athletic talent, then we can get into this as well. The whole idea is to find talent at grassroots level and nurture it,” he said.

A team backed by the government has its own advantages. “With government support, everything happens in a proper way. Money is not a constraint at all,” said former India captain Dilip Tirkey, who has been roped in as mentor of Kalinga Lancers. “Their ways may be different but they are effective.”

During the recent HIL auction, Kalinga Lancers bought 24 players,

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Hockey League team takes govt route, invites bids for posts

including 10 foreigners. Of the top 10 costliest buys, four players went to the Lancers, which made full use of its Rs 4.42 crore purse. The team, which will be based in Bhubaneswar, made the second highest buy, paying $71,000 for New Zealand’s Ryan Archibald. It also paid $55,000 for Australia’s Kiel Brown, $50,000 for Argentina’s Lucas Villa and $49,000 for his compatriot Gonzalo Peillat. It has roped in the services of current India coach Terry Walsh, who has helped Australia and Holland win Olympic medals.

Orissa boasts of a rich hockey tradition, with the state’s tribal belt producing players like Tirkey, William Xalco, Ignace Tirkey, his younger brother Prabodh and

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