Saturday, January 2, 2016
THE MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee Saturday decided to accommodate six late entries, turning the Junior Hockey League (JHL) into a record 36-team tournament this season.
Last year there were 30 teams, and the same number registered when entries closed.
But Malacca Young Hurricanes, Anderson PHA, Seratas, MSSWPKL, SM Sains Johor and MISCF-UFL placed their entries anyway -- and the competitions committee chaired by George Koshy did not want to deprive anybody of playing hockey.
"On a positive note, the record entries shows that hockey is a popular sport in the country and many teams are hungry to play in junior tournaments.
"But we need to wait and see if quality balances with quantity," said Koshy.
Ten teams will play in Division One, where SSTMI Thunderbolts have been reigning supreme with four back-to back doubles.
In Division Two, the 26 teams will be divided into South, Central and North Zones
"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.
"The top-two teams in each Zone will then be divided into two groups and the top team in each group will play in the final," said George.
Division Two will see Felda and Malay College Kuala Kangsar play in the North and Central Zones respectively.
The JHL was incepted in 1995 when the late Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary S. Satgunam proposed, planned and kick-started a league to develop youth.
"Even if each team only produces one good player, we will have 36 quality players to be trained for the country. Hopefully, teams in Division Two make and impact by playing good hockey and not just make up the numbers," said Koshy.
The tournament starts on Jan 15, and MHC will provide a grant of RM3,000 per-team.
DIVISION ONE: SSTMI Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns, Pahang Sports School, Old La Sallians of Klang (Olak-PKT), SSTMI Juniors, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Politeknik Malaysia, Petaling Jaya City Council, Nur Insafi and SMK Datuk Bentara Luar Johor.
DIVISION TWO: North Zone: Perlis Young Lions, Perlis Young Lions Jnrs, Matri Perlis, MSSD Larut Matang, MSS Kedah, MSSP Penang, Kedah HA-MSNK, Seratas, Malay College Kuala Kangsar.
Central Zone: Sek Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Felda Juniors, Anderson Thunderbolts, MSNPK-ILHC, Anderson Perak HA, BJSS Juniors, MSSWPKL, MISCF-UFL.
South Zone: TBSS-Tampin, Malacca High, Young Hurricanes, SMK Datuk Taha, Sabah Sports School, MSNT-Terengganu HT, Pahang Hockey Academy, Datuk Bentara Luar Jnrs, SMS Sains Johor.