HOCKEY’S HIGH­EST PRIZE

India Today - - LEISURE - —Jagdish Singh

Not long ago, you might have been for­given for not know­ing that any­one in In­dia ac­tu­ally played the sort of hockey that in­volves skates, a puck and frozen wa­ter. But a na­tional cham­pi­onship that is played at 3,500 me­tres above sea level, in Leh, is al­ready a decade old.

In the fi­nal match of this month’s cham­pi­onships, the Indo-Ti­betan Bor­der Po­lice (ITBP) edged out the lo­cal Ladakh Scouts Reg­i­men­tal Cen­tre (LSRC)-Red with a penalty shot, fol­low­ing a score­less 70-minute game and no re­sult in ex­tra time.

There are other signs of life in the sport as well. With an Amer­i­can coach who was once af­fil­i­ated with the US Na­tional Hockey League’s New York Is­lan­ders, the un­der­funded In­dian na­tional team—which has an ad­van­tage over the Ja­maican bob­sled squad of Cool

Run­nings (and Winter Olympic) fame, in that In­dia does ac­tu­ally have some ice—has been com­pet­ing with Asian ri­vals like Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emi­rates since 2009. Some may re­call Speedy Singhs—a for­get­table Hindi film about an ice hockey team with Akshay Ku­mar. A doc­u­men­tary is also in the works, ti­tled Fight­ing on Ice, telling the sto­ries of

In­dia’s real-life ice hockey stars.

A na­tional ice hockey cham­pi­onship played in Leh is al­ready a decade old

The Indo-Ti­betan Bor­der Po­lice team in ac­tion; ITBP won the match on penal­ties PLUCKY CHAPS

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