By Mayank Jain:
“We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.”
Hockey couldn’t have been better captured into the words than by the former head coach of Philadelphia’s team. The enigma and thrill that comes with a game of Hockey is largely inexplicable though. The Hockey World Cup begins in 2 days and her are the 7 things that you must know before watching the first contest:
1. Conception: Pakistan has played a major role in bringing Hockey World Cup to life. It was conceived by Air Marshal Nur Khan and the proposal was accepted at a meeting in Brussels, Belgium in 1970. Even the trophy was designed by Bashir Moojid and created by the Pakistani Army.
2. Staggering Numbers: The event is going to have one of the largest audiences this time as it inaugurates in Hague. The viewership is going to be humongous with 386 million people and another million will catch it online. The tournament will last a little over 14 days and have 76 back to back matches to leave you catching your breath.
3. Everything Hockey: The main event is not the only one since the Women’s World Cup happens alongside. Also, 70 teams are coming together for the Masters and Grand Masters tournaments which will feature players in the 40-65 age group. If this much hockey is not enough for you, the Youth Hockey tournament is happening too.
4. India’s Wait For A Title: India’s last and only world cup win came in 1975 and since then we have not been able to finish even in the top three table in the men’s edition. The long wait will hopefully end this time but India enters the tournament with some nightmarish losses to put pressure.
5. Pakistan’s Dominance: Credited with creating the World Cup, Pakistan is also the most successful team in the format. Pakistan has been able to grab the cup 4 times, most by any nation. Its 6 appearances in the finals also set the graph much higher for other teams to match.
6. Beach Hockey Festival: Netherlands is in no mood to let the tempo of celebrations fall for even a moment. The Beach Hockey Festival is lined up for 14-16th June which will celebrate hockey with a new 3D concept. The matches will be much shorter consisting of two halves of 10 minutes each. With only 30 shots expected in a match, the format is bound to set the space on fire.
7. Catch It Live: The world cup will be streamed live on Youtube. As much as a million people are expected to catch it live. Every match as well as highlights videos will be available on the official channel here. You can also keep track of the latest updates through Facebook and Twitter too.
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