TENAGA Nasional are not only title sponsors of the Junior Hockey League (JHL), but will also have four teams battling for honours starting Jan 15.
It all started with Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) Thunderbolts, which evolved into Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) Thunderbolts and became a winning machine which has four consecutive doubles under their belt (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).
BPSS were never in the picture before the Thunderbolts programme was introduced nine years ago, as back then the champions were Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) who has seven League and five Overall titles.
The Thunderbolts programme by Tenaga is now in three other schools -- BJSS, Pahang Sports School and Anderson.
Former national juniors coach K. Rajan, a Tenaga employee, has been tasked to revive BJSS' fortunes.
"BJSS used to be the feared school in JHL as they won seven straight League titles from 2003 to 2009 (and Overall titles in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009).
"But after the Thunderbolts programme was introduced in BPSS, BJSS were left far behind. Tenaga has started the programme in BJSS this season, and hopefully the school will start producing results again in a few years time," said K. Rajan who also used to coach Tenaga in the JHL.
Three Thunderbolts will play in Division One, while Anderson in Division One.
"There will be a standard training format for all Thunderbolts, but when we come to a head-to-head clash, there will be no mercy for our sister teams as each has targets to achieve.
"In a way, this programme will develop a big pool of young players for the country," said Rajan.
Tenaga are the only all-local team in the Malaysia Hockey League, and with four junior teams as feeders for the senior side, they are spending their money wisely and not lavishly by hiring foreigners to play in the MHL all the other teams.
This JHL season will see 10 teams in Division one and 26 teams divided into three zones in Division Two.
Nine teams will play in the South Zone, eight in Central and nine in North. This was done to cut down on travelling as well as cost per team.