No government funding, no infrastructure, no mass media. Indian Ice Hockey Team rides on the sheer will of 22 young Indian players from the Himalayan region of India. They invest their own money, their parent’s savings, the support of their good-wishers, meagre sponsorships to proudly wear the Indian jersey in international arenas. And force the world to stand up and take note of India’s talent. And climb the ladder of ranking one tournament at a time. The only saving grace in this dismal scenario has been the generosity of spirit of the common India public who has been contributing to crowdfunding campaigns to keep the hopes of Indian Ice Hockey Teams alive.
When you mention hockey in India, people think it is field hockey. When you say ‘ice hockey’, most people are not aware that it is played here. Moreover, we have a team representing India at the international level.
In spite of all hardships, the team had managed to register their first international win against Macau in 2012, in Dehradun. They have been participating in the IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia since 2009 but it was the availability of India’s only international rink in Dehradun, which made the victory against Macau possible. The rink since 2012 has been lying shut but it did not deter the team to participate and keep their hopes alive while participating in the subsequent Asian Championships.
Ice Hockey is an expensive sport. The Ice Hockey Association has accumulated an expense of around 26 Lakhs INR for training in Kyrgyzstan. The team has already spent most of their personal funds on training well. Now, with just a week before the Kuwait tournament, they are falling short of 12 lakhs INR to participate in the tournament. They need this fund to pay for their travel tickets, visa, equipment and coach.
While the India sports enthusiasts are glued to cricket during IPL, the other sports seek attention including this talented team. In spite of being a national team, the team yet again seeks public support for representing India in Kuwait. Most of their equipment has been gifted by friends or well-wishers. In a cricket-crazy nation, Indian ice hockey has been crippled by a general lack of funds and infrastructure.
With just seven days to go for the Kuwait tournament, the team now has high hopes for the crowdfunding campaign to raise the required funds for them. The team is also looking for sponsorship opportunities from corporates looking to fund athletes under their CSR initiative.All those willing to support the campaign can contribute here https://goo.gl/NRAaqZ