KUALA LUMPUR: Three teams will make their debut in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL), which has drawn a record number of 23 entries – one more than last year.
The newcomers are Perlis School Sports Council, Penang Free School and Sports School Juniors.
Malacca Municipal Council, who won the overall title in 2001, are making a comeback to the competition. But two teams who competed last year – Ipoh City Hall and Seberang Perai Municipal Council – will not feature in the league this time.
The entry of Taiping District was rejected because it did not have the endorsement of the Perak Hockey Association (PHA).
Taiping coach Zakaria Yaacob said yesterday that he could not understand why the PHA decided not to endorse their participation.
“They said we had not held the BGM (biennial general meeting) and our accounts were not in order,” said Zakaria.
“But we were in the same situation last year and they signed the entry form. We have 20 players and they have been denied the chance to play in the league.”
Taiping faced financial problems midway in the league last year and almost pulled out. They finished last .
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary, S. Satgunam, said that except for school teams, all club and district sides needed to get the endorsement from their parent body to play in the MJHL.
With 23 teams in the league, the competition would go two-tier with the top 10 teams from last year in Division One. The remaining teams will play in a two-pool Division Two. Last year's league had a two-pool format.
The decision by Ipoh City Hall and Seberang Perai not to compete this time has paved the way for Sri Aroma-PISC, formerly known as Penang Indians, to feature in Division One. The Penang side finished 12th last year.
Meanwhile, the MHF, on the request by the team, agreed to extend the deadline on the registration of players to Saturday.