Recently the International Hockey Federation (FIH) launched the fantastic new world competition the Hockey Pro League, now I personally believe this is a great concept and a great competition and is the future of the game. However there have been some out there who have there reservations about the HPL and the fact that it might take away the opportunity for countries not ranked in the top 10 to be able to compete against the best. Well in a way this is a fair argument, but it also isn't being fair the the International Federation who I believe plan to role out further changes after the HPL comes in 2019, but they need to take this first step then go from there.
With this in mind I have been thinking about how you could expand the Hockey Pro League to include all hockey countries and give everyone the chance to reach the top comp level which starts in 2019, and this is what I have come up with. We do it similar to the way the structure the Davis Cup and Fed Cup in Tennis. So this is the format up with, now bare in mind this would not be able to be implemented in full till after the first four years of the current Hockey Pro League which starts in 2019.
HOCKEY PRO LEAGUE FORMAT (2023)
Hockey Pro League (Premier Division)
Men's Teams: Australia, Holland, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Great Britain
Women's Teams: Argentina, Holland, India, China, Great Britain, Germany, USA, Australia, New Zealand.
Hockey Pro League (Division 1)
Men's Teams: Ireland, Spain, Canada, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, France, China
Women's Teams: Korea, Spain, Japan, South Africa, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Canada
Hockey Pro League (Division 2)
Men's Team: Egypt, Poland, Russia, Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, USA, Chile
Women's Teams: Chile, Belarus, Malaysia, Uraguay, Czech Republic, France, Azerbaijan, Switzerland
Hockey Pro League (Division 3)
Men's Team: Brazil, Oman, Azerbaijan, Trinidad & Tobago, Bangladesh, Italy
Women's Teams: Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Ghana, Austria, Kazakhstan, Trinidad & Tobago, Ukraine.
There would be in addition to these division's the following continental divisions-
Hockey Pro League: Asian/Oceania Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: Africa Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: European Hockey Federation Division 1
Hockey Pro League: Pan America Hockey Federation Division 1
Now starting from 2023 there would be a promotion and relegation system put in place, which would be as follows-
- Top team from each division 1,2,3 will be promoted to the division above.
- bottom team from each division premier, 1, 2 will be demoted to the division below
- The winners from each of the continental federations will play-off in a home and away leg against the bottom four teams in Division 3
Now like I say this is just a suggestion, it is my contribution to the debate as we move forward into a new era. I welcome comments, I think this can work and it will create interest and regular competition for all countries who play this great game.