BIRTH AND EVOLUTION OF CALCUTTA HOCKEY LEAGUE COMPETITION
The Calcutta Hockey League Competition, a neat compact organisation, is only second to the great Beighton Cup Tournament in seniority, status and eminence. It came into being in 1905 - some ten years after the inauguration of Beighton Cup Tournament and three years before the birth of Bengal Hockey Association in 1908. The First Division was first to commence in 1905, and the Competition expanded to the Second Division in 1907. Third Division in 1920, the Fourth in 1932 and Division ll - B in 1933.
Who was responsible in mooting the idea of having a League Competition is shrouded in mists of uncertainty. Equally uncertain was the fact as to who ran in the formative years and before Bengal Hockey Association was born. Some research painstaking and time-consuming. has to be made to trace the early history of the Competition which has been the nursery of local hockey.
Since 1905 the Competition is being run annually except the year of 1947 when it had to be abandoned due to worst communal riots seen in Calcutta known as the "Great Calcutta Killing." It was a College Combination which had the distinction of registering the first win in its Inaugural year. The combination was B.E. College, Sibpur, one of the architects of Bengal Hockey. The college repeated its performance in 1906, 1911 and 1920 after which it begun to fade away the scene. Calcutta Rangers, another pioneer, won the Trophy eight times - 1914-17 (four years in a row). 1928-29, 1934 and 1943 after which they too fell off.
Calcutta Customs' record as in Beighton Cup Tournament, has been the most impressive. They won the Trophy no less than eight times - 1909-10, 1912-13, 1921-22, 1926-27 (Two years in row) 1930 33 (four years in a row), 1936-39 (four years in a row again), 1950 and 1961. In a span of ten years, Customs won the trophy eight times - twice four years in a row a magnificent record which will stand unsurpassed.
At a certain stage, Greer Sporting consisting mostly of local talents, was the only Indian team in the Leaque having been promoted to the First Division in 1915. To them goes the signal distinction of being the first Indian team to win the League in 1919, a performance which they repeated in 1923 as if to prove that their initial success was not a fluke. These performances were achieved in the classic days of Bengal Hockey when skill, artistry and merit were the only considerations and nothing else.
Mohun Bagan, better known throughout the country for their football-prowess, came into scene in early thirtees and were the second Indian team to lift the Trophy in 1935 followed by success in 1951-52 1955-58, 1962, 1969-72, 1974-75, 1977-78, 1980-81 & 1986-88. Again four years in a row, thus equalling the record of the Calcutta Customs who had won before four years in a row twice. Their record in winning the trophy twenty one times was the highest honour in the bergain. Mohammedan Sporting was the third Indian team to win the Trophy in 1945 - a performance which they repeated in 1959. East Bengal, not to be outdone by its great soccer rivals, started taking interest in hockey and was the fourth Indian team to lift the Trophy in 1960 and repeated the performance in 1961, 1963-64, 1968, 1973, 1976, 1979 and agai in 1989.