India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sahara Adventure Sports Limited are co-owners of the new Ranchi franchise of the Hockey Indian League (HIL), Ranchi Rays, which was unveiled on Saturday.
Ranchi Rhinos, the inaugural champions of HIL, were scrapped following distrust between owners (Patel-PS Group and Uniexcel Group) and Hockey India (HI).
The decision to scrap Ranchi Rhinos was all the more surprising since the club was performing appreciably, having won the inaugural season and finishing third in the second. Also, as a venue Ranchi had the most promising crowd attendance with packed galleries every time the home team was in action.
Coining the team 'Ranchi Rays', Dhoni was himself present for the announcement conference held in Ranchi on Saturday along with Mr. Abhijit Sarkar, Head-Corporate Communications, Sahara India Pariwar & Director - Sahara Adventures Sports Ltd and Dr. Narinder Batra, Chairman, Hockey India League.
Speaking on owning the Ranchi Franchise of HIL, Dhoni said, "Today I am very happy to own the franchisee of Ranchi Team in the Hockey India League. I was always interested to do something for this region and I want to see also that hockey should be uplifted from the grass root level. I have got this franchisee with the support of Sahara India Pariwar, one of the prime promoter and patron of sports in India."
Dhoni also owns a motorsports team called Mahi Racing Team in partnership with film star Nagarjuna, while also having stake in the Indian Super League football franchise Chennaiyin FC.