DUBAI The Dubai Sports City’s (DSC) initiative of starting the inaugural DSC Amateur Hockey League two months ago has evoked positive response, especially knowing well the game does not have a great following in this country.

“The league has been received really well by all the participating teams. It’s the highlight of the week for many,” said Macky Dudhia, General Manager in Sports Business at DSC.

“We are very glad to be able to provide this platform for them to showcase their skills,” he added.

The inaugural league began in September and will end this Friday and has six participating teams that includes the UAE Falcons, Sharjah Tigers, Dubai Hockey Club A and B, Lacnor Hockey Club and Arabian Field Hockey Club. The tournament is held every Friday at the state-of-the-art DSC Hockey stadium with a home/away system and has three matches on each day.

“The league has received attention from International Hockey Federation (FIH). They believe it’s a great stepping stone for the national team and have urged the UAE Hockey Committee to get involved and support the league,” Dudhia observed.

The successful launch has now further encouraged the organisers to take it to the next level and Dudhia noted 2013 will be an exciting year for the league.

“The league can confirm at this stage in preparation for 2013 that three additional teams have confirmed their places and we fully expect more to come forward by January 7 deadline. One of the new teams is a local Emirati team, and with them getting regular competitive hockey, it can only be good for the national team.

“We are very excited about that. The local team has recently played a fixture at DSC and has some talented players this will help them develop to the next level.

“We also will be adding a knock out competition as well as the Gulf Challenge (an event targeting teams from other Gulf Countries,” he added.

Dudhia was confident about the growing interest and said they will do their best to market the sport. “We are doing the best we can ourselves by using contacts and teams knowledge of other non-participating teams. The interest for next season has been exceptional our hockey contact list has doubled since we sent out the invitations. I would like to see the league receiving more media coverage and once we start to get this all the hockey teams will surely get involved,” he added.

He further said that the entire set up was being managed by professionals. “We are very fortunate to have the support of some very influential figures in hockey. Robin Mowatt our convener has been setting up hockey teams/events for many years and has fully got behind what we are doing here. The South African has many contacts within the FIH and is using them to our advantage. The year 2013 could be an interesting year for hockey in the UAE. We also have some very qualified ex-England Hockey umpires offering their services each week,” he added.

Mowatt said the event had already created a buzz which certainly meant it had a great future. “There has been a great buzz around the hockey community. Many other teams are showing interest in the competition for 2013. It has already been a successful inauguration to the League and we hope to get better next year.”