THE Junior Hockey League (JHL) entries close Monday, and the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are keeping their fingers crossed for foreign entries to make their debut.
MHC sent out JHL invitations to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea to make the league much more competitive and a bigger crowd puller.
Even if one country takes up the offer, it would be a new milestone for the JHL which was incepted in 1995.
And while the Under-19 boys have been enjoying their moment under the spotlight for 20 years, the girls will finally get a chance to compete in their own JHL.
MHC are ready to host the girls JHL next year.
"We have invited neighbouring countries to play in the JHL and hopefully some of them reply in the positive. This move is to make the junior tournament more competitive and also bring back the crowd to stadiums," said MHC competitions committee chairman George Koshy.
Koshy, who is also the MHC deputy president, said after the boys entries close they they will call for the girls entries.
"We will call for the girls JHL entry soon, and even though we do not expect many teams to compete in the first season, its a start in the right direction to develop women," said Koshy.
The men are ranked 13th in the world while women are a close 20th.
"we have yet to decide on the JHL format because we need to wait for entries to close and see if any foreign teams register. If there are foreign teams, we need to have a different format so that it is not too long and taxing," said George.