The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has revealed the full schedule for the inaugural season of the Hockey Pro League which begins on January 19, 2019.
152 matches have been scheduled between January and June across the world as part of this new game-changing competition.
Nine women’s and nine men’s teams will be competing for the Hockey Pro League title, playing eight home and eight away matches throughout the first six months of every year. The top four teams will then compete to determine the winner in a Grand Final later in June.
Spain men will get things underway as they host Rio 2016 and EuroHockey Championship silver medallists Belgium in the opening match of the Hockey Pro League.
A busy schedule then follows, with the majority of early matches played in the southern hemisphere.
As one of the early season highlights, Argentina women will be eagerly anticipating the arrival of reigning Hockey World Cup and World League champions Netherlands as the EuroHockey title winners head south to take on Las Leonas on February 24.
Shortly afterwards the spotlight turns to Australia as their men and women challenge Oceania rivals New Zealand for continental bragging rights over the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend – March 17. The teams return matches then take place in New Zealand on Anzac Day – April 25.
Another continental duel sure to get fans buzzing will be Argentina women’s visit to the USA. The Pan American rivals, who have taken wins against each other in recent months, go head to head on May 12.
The teams then follow the summer by returning to the northern hemisphere. An exciting end to the League awaits as nations compete to finish in the top four to guarantee qualification for the Grand Final.
With Pakistan men playing in Glasgow, Scotland, their match against Great Britain on May 25 is bound capture the imagination of fans. A large local Pakistani crowd will be looking forward to the friendly rivalry with their British opponents as they aim to defend their home turf in one of Great Britain’s most multi-cultured cities.
European neighbours Germany and Netherlands men always provide lots of goals and drama, and in the Hockey Pro League nothing less can be expected. Whilst Netherlands fans will be looking forward to backing their team in their homeland on 5 March, Germany will be aiming for victory against the European champions on their turf on April 26.
In what will be a unique, double-header weekend, due to their proximity - Belgium men and women will play at home to Netherlands on the Saturday before replaying the match the following day in the Netherlands over the weekend of June 8 and 9.
Another highlight in the women’s competition will be the game between continental rivals Great Britain and Netherlands in what will be a rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games final. As the world’s number one ranked team, the Dutch will look to gain psychological advantage from their first encounter against the Olympic Champions at their home turf on June 1, before heading to Great Britain on June 15.
Similarly, Argentina and Belgium men also have an ongoing rivalry following their Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medal match. On that occasion Argentina men emerged victorious therefore Belgium will be wanting to turn the tables in what will be a dramatic end to their season on June 23 – the very last day of League competition.
Speaking about this announcement, FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “We’re delighted to publish this schedule as the world can now visualise the scale of this new global home and away league. Organising such a complex timetable involving a number of stakeholders took some time but it was refreshing to witness to amount of collaborative working throughout the process by both participating teams and broadcasters.”
He continued: “This announcement means that fans can now lock dates into their diary to ensure they don’t miss any of the world’s top nations visiting their home turf. It also allows both our participating nations and FIH to really push on with the development of this competition as we look to finalize broadcast and commercial partnerships across the world over the coming months ahead of next January’s launch.”
For the full Hockey Pro League schedule, please click here.
About the Hockey Pro League
A downloadable version of the schedule is available here: http://bit.ly/2nHbT0G
Note that the schedule provided is subject to change depending on changes requested by broadcasters and participating teams.
Hockey Pro League FAQ: http://bit.ly/2sbxS2P
Grand Final: 144 matches will take place as part of the League stage. A further eight matches will then take place at the Grand Final. This will take place in the Netherlands in June 2019 on dates yet to be confirmed. FIH will issue a press release once dates and a venue have been approved.
U.S. Women's National Team HPL Matches:
Saturday, February 2 Argentina vs. USA (in Argentina)
Saturday, February 16 USA vs. The Netherlands (in USA)
Saturday, March 2 Australia vs. USA (in Australia)
Friday, March 8 New Zealand vs. USA (in New Zealand)
Friday, March 29 USA vs. Belgium (in USA)
Sunday, March 31 USA vs. Great Britain (in USA)
Wednesday, April 10 Belgium vs. USA (in Belgium)
Sunday, April 14 The Netherlands vs. USA (in The Netherlands)
Saturday, April 27 Great Britain vs. USA (in Great Britain)
Tuesday, April 30 Germany vs. USA (in Germany)
Friday, May 10 USA vs. Australia (in USA)
Sunday, May 12 USA vs. Argentina (in USA)
Saturday, May 18 USA vs. China (in USA)
Saturday, June 1 USA vs. New Zealand (in USA)
Saturday, June 15 China vs. USA (in China)
Saturday, June 22 USA vs. Germany (in USA)