SSTMI won the men's TNB CUP.
PENANG won the women's aTNB CUP.
By Jugjet Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: The Junior Hockey League (JHL) ended with a bang on Sunday, but together with the good there were also the bad and the very ugly on display.
Lets start with the ugly.
A team official picked a fight with a Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical official, who was on duty, and then went on to make a police report accusing the MHC official of many silly things.
The team official was let off with a warning, but he ruined the good name of his team.
Then the bad.
Some teams have been competing in the JHL for decades, but still could not get it right but keep on harping on their past records while doing nothing to improve the current situation.
Owners of these kind of clubs need to break free from these officials, and hire new blood if they want to become present champions or play in the knock-out stage more consistently.
If not, they can forever bask in their past glory, while other teams leave them miles behind.
Thankfully, good was plenty.
Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts, Anderson Thunderbolts, Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts and SMK Datuk Bentara Luar-UniKL (SMKDBL-UNIKL-PHJ) -- to name a few.
SSTMI lifted their seventh Overall JHL title, Anderson finished second in the League for the first time, Pahang made back-to-back TNB Cup finals and Datuk Bentara Luar became the team to watch next season.
Datuk Bentara Luar, from Batu Pahat, beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 2-1 in the quarter-finals -- to deny a Thunderbolts monopoly in the semifinals.
Datuk Bentara started as a Division Two outfit in 2013, and gained promotion to Division One in 2016 when they finished second behind Nur Insafi.
With funding from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) Datuk Bentara ended eighth in 2016, sixth in 2017 but were knocked out of the quarter-finals by SSTMI Thunderbolts with a 5-0 hammering.
And with solid financial and coaching backing from UniKL, Datuk Bentara Luar will again be expected to break Thunderbolts' monopoly in the JHL next season.
The best news this season was undoubtedly SSTMI's backbone Akhimullah Anuar Esook's consistency.
He top-scored with 18 goals, last year it was 17, while in 2016 when he was only 16 he scored 11 goals. And in the recent Asian Youth Olympics Qualifier in Bangkok he scored 16 goals to become tournament top-scorer.
And Akhimullah can still play for SSTMI next year.
Teams which want to excel in the near future, take the good and sack the bad and ugly from their management team. Or, forever live in the past.