In a first-of-its-kind attempt to promote and support hockey, the Indian hockey team has received a new sponsor – the state government of Odisha, which will be the official sponsor of the team for next five years!

Sport. India. Cricket. Wait, wait, this one isn’t about cricket. Interesting! The thing is, Odisha state government has announced to sponsor the Indian hockey team for next five year. A state government sponsoring the national hockey team – this has never happened in India before. We all know how India is all barmy about cricket, so much that it is almost the synonym to sport. So when it comes to any sport other than cricket, they pretty much fade out – even if it is about India’s national game, hockey. Seems like Odisha government realised the threat of extinction of all other sport in the country and decided to sponsor hockey and uplift the aura in the hockey-ian world, you know.

To our very pleasant surprise, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik promptly made the sponsorship announcement during a grand function on Thursday, in presence of prominent personalities of the hockey-ian world. Indian hockey players – both men and women, members of the International Hockey Federation, IOA President Narinder Batra and IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta were present when the maiden first-of-its-kind announcement was made. After the announcement, a new logo was unveiled, which will now be printed on the jerseys of Indian men and women hockey teams – for next five years to come. The logo titled ‘Odisha – India’s Best Kept Secret’ and is a summation of Odisha’s features – the Konark wheel, the state’s famed coastline, endangered Olive Ridley turtles, Odissi dance form and hockey.

In India, Odisha has been home to some of the finest Indian hockey players like Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla; and the state is still regarded as the cradle of hockey. Since years, Odisha has managed to find ways to support hockey in different ways – they even have their own team Kalinga Lancers in the Hockey India League. Now we don’t know how much money will be pumped in by the Odisha government for sponsorship, but it will hold great significance in the history of hockey. The sponsorship will be add up to the marquee of Odisha’s contribution for the national game of India.