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Sahara, Dhoni take ownership of HIL’s Ranchi team

MUMBAI: Sahara India Pariwar, along with Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has bought the Ranchi franchise of the Hockey India League (HIL). Incidentally, Sahara already owns the Lucknow team of HIL.

The new owners have named the team Ranchi Rays. The Ranchi team, which was known as Ranchi Rhinos, was jointly owned by Patel-PS Group and Uniexcel Group till 14 September 2012. However, the team was booted out following a disagreement between HIL and the owners.

HIL chairman Dr Narinder Batra said, “This is a great moment for Hockey India League to have MS Dhoni on board as a franchisee owner of the world’s most prominent hockey league along with Sahara India Pariwar. This initiative by Sahara India Pariwar showcases the faith that they have in Hero Hockey India League and I am happy by the kind of support that the League is garnering from all quarters. This development also shows the advancement of the HIL where reputed corporate and sports promoters are coming together to take Indian hockey at a new level altogether.”

Dhoni is also the co-owner of Indian Super League (ISL) Chennai franchise Chennayin FC along with Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan.

On becoming the team owner, Dhoni, who hails from Ranchi, commented, “Today I am very happy to own the franchise of the Ranchi team in the Hockey India League. I was always interested to do something for this region and I want to see that hockey is lifted from the grassroots level. I have got this franchise with the support of Sahara India Pariwar, one of the prime promoters and patrons of sports in India.”

Speaking on co-owning Ranchi Rays, Sahara India Pariwar head of corporate communications & director of Sahara Adventures Sports Abhijit Sarkar said, “Hockey is our national game and we are proud to be associated with the Ranchi franchise and are elated to continue our patronage and support for the game. We will achieve greater laurels and success in the sport of hockey in the coming years and Sahara India Pariwar is committed to the development of sports at all levels.”

Rhiti Sports CMD Arun Pandey added, “MS Dhoni has supported every sport and hockey is another sport which is close to Mahi’s heart. When this opportunity came, Mahi quickly accepted it as he always wants to do something for his state and country. This indeed is a way to uplift hockey in his state which is our national game. We have long-term plans to uplift hockey at the grassroots level.”