'IHL can revolutionise the sport'
The newly-founded India Hockey League (IHL) could revolutionise the sport, World Player of the Year Moritz Fuerste of Germany said in an interview published on Thursday.
The two-time Olympic champion Fuerste will leave for hockey-crazy India on Monday to be part of the six-team league along with other German and international top stars between January 14 and February 10.
"I am very proud to be part of a project which I believe can help shape the future of hockey," Fuerste told Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung paper.
"If it is accepted by the public then it become something really big, something that will revolutionise hockey. Then you can earn really good money there in a few years. Top players will play for their club for 11 months and go to India in January."
Fuerste said he raked in $84 000 from the Ranchi Rhinos franchise when the auction for the 250 players took place in December, the second-highest figure following Dutch star Teun de Nooijer.
Australian ace Jamie Dwyer is among the other elite players spread across the six privately-owned teams.
Fuerste, who normally plays in Spain for Madrid-based Club de Campo, named the sum "unbelievable" and that India's passion for hockey could make the new league successful even though the nation has fallen a little behind on the international stage.
"India ... is still a big hockey nation. Hockey is the No 1 sport in country," he said.
"In 2012, there were around 10 million spectators at a smaller project. If you now add the more money invested, the attractive players, and more exciting sport, then you can imagine what will happen this year."