The Hockey Champions Trophy, brainchild of Air Marshal Nur Khan, a former president of Pakistan Hockey Federation, started in 1978 and features the world’s top-ranked teams. Pakistan also presented the beautiful trophy.
The tournament had been an annual affair from 1980 to 2012. But due to the introduction of the World Hockey League which serves as the qualifier for the World Cup and the Olympic Games, it has now been changed into a biennial event.
Mostly six teams participated, though the first edition had five teams, the second had seven, and 1987 and 2007 had eight.
The criterion to name the participating teams is laid by the FIH. It has been altered a few times.
The sides competing in 2014: Teams finishing first to fifth in the last edition and also the winner of the last Champions Challenge 1 are granted participation for this tournament.
The remaining two teams are nominated by the FIH Executive Board.
The Champions Challenge 1 can be considered as the Champions Trophy for the so-called B nations.
From 1978 till 1991 only a Round Robin (single league) was played. Since 1992, after the Round Robin, play-off matches have been played between the No 1 and 2 (Final), 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 to determine final standings.
The 2011 edition was the first time when there was no round robin. Rather the eight participating teams were drawn into two pools. The top two teams from each pool progressed to a pool of four teams and then from there the top two teams qualified for the final.
The 2012 tournament saw a unique arrangement. After the eight teams had finished playing in the two pools, they all made to the quarter-finals. It will be the same this time.
Countries with most appearances: Australia 33, Netherlands 32, Germany 31, Pakistan 30.
France (1992) and Belgium (2012) have made only one appearance each.
Best run: five victories on the trot: Australia (2008-2012)
The highest number of goals scored by a single team in a single tournament is 32, scored by Pakistan in 1980.
The least number of goals conceded by a team in a single tournament is two, by Germany in 1995.
Six times, the teams had perfect campaigns, winning all the matches: Pakistan (1978 and 1980), Netherlands (2000), Germany (2001), Australia (2010 and 2011).
Biggest win: Australia beat France 9-2 (1992), Holland beat Pakistan 9-2 (2006).
The players with the most Champions Trophy gold medals: Jeroen Delmee, Teun de Nooijer, Sander van der Weide and GussVogels (all NED), Carsten Fischer (GER) and Jamie Dwyer (6 gold medals each).
Most Appearances: De Teun de Nooijer (NED) 17.
Dutchmen Teun de Nooijer has picked up thirteen CT medals.
The top three scorers are TaekeTaekema (NED, 47 goals), Teun de Nooijer (NED, 43 goals), Sohail Abbas (PAK, 41 goals).
PaulLitjens (NED, 15 goals in 1980) holds the record for a single edition.
In a single match, three players have scored five goals (all three are Dutch): Paul Litjens vs Britain (1981), Ties Kruise vs Pakistan (1982), Taco Van Honert vs Pakistan (1993).
Yet another Dutch player, Floris Jan Bovalander, owns the record for the highest number of hat-tricks — four times.
The fastest hat-trick in a Champions Trophy match was scored by Australia’s Colin Batch, in only nine minutes against Holland in 1980.
The highest number of goals in a final match is four, scored by Germany’s Andreas Becker against Australia in 1992.
Pakistan’s Hanif Khan is generally credited with the fastest goal in a Champions Trophy match; he put his side ahead after just 11 seconds, against Holland in 1984.
The first ever goal was scored by Pakistan’s forward Shahnaz Sheikh against New Zealand in 1978.
When Germany performed a hat-trick of victories from 1986-88, they were led by HeinsDopp on all the three occasions.
Shahbaz Ahmed skippered Pakistan six times, 1990 to 1995, a record.
Ric Charlesworth of Australia (2009-12) coached his team to four successive titles.
PAKISTAN’ S RECORDS:
Pakistan appeared in 30 out of the 34 editions (didn’t figure in 2000 and from 2008 to 2010).
Three golds: 1978, 1980, and 1994 Six silvers: 1983, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1996 and 1998.
Seven bronze: 1986, 1992, 1995, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2012.
Seven times 4th position: 1981, 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993 and 2001.
Thrice 5th position: 1997, 2005 and 2006.
Once 6th: 1999.
Thrice 7th: 1987, 2007 and 2011.
Pakistan won the first and the second editions but had to wait for 14 years for their third win, 1994 (16th edition). All three Pakistani victories came on home soil.
Shahbaz Ahmad and goalkeepers Shahid Ali Khan and Mansoor Ahmed have the maximum appearances (10) for Pakistan.
Apart from Shahbaz Ahmed, who captained Pakistan six times, only three players have been captain on more than one occasion. Hanif Khan, Mansoor Ahmed and M Sarwar led Pakistan in two editions.
Penalty corner expert Sohail Abbas is Pakistan’s overall top scorer with 41 goals followed by inside-left Hanif Khan who scored 21 goals.
Sohail Abbas is also Pakistan’s top goal-getter in a single edition, nine goals in 2003.
After his appearance in 1995 champions trophy, Shahbaz Ahmad next appeared in 2001, a gap of six years.
Shahbaz Ahmed won Player of the Tournament award twice, in 1991 and 1992. Six other Pakistanis have also won this coveted award: Shahid Ali Khan (1983), Hanif Khan (1984), late Qazi Mohib (1988), Khawaja Junaid (1994), Dr Atif Bashir (1998) and Shakeel Abbasi (2012).
Biggest victories came in the second edition (1980) when Pakistan defeated both India and Australia by an identical score of 7-1.
Pakistan’s heaviest defeat is 2-9 against Holland in 2006.
In 1984, Pakistan team had three real brothers in Manzoor Hussain Jr (captain), Maqsood Hussain and Mahmood Hussain, all forwards, who in one match played together.
Seven pairs of brothers have represented Pakistan in the Champions Trophy: Samiullah and Kaleemullah, Manzoorul Hasan and Rasheedul Hasan, Imran Yousuf and Irfan Yousuf, Raheem Khan and Imran Khan, Mohammad Anees and Mohammad Asim, Mohammad Sarwar and Mohammad Zubair, Rehan Butt and Imran Butt.