New Delhi: The Odisha chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, Thursday said that the state will sponsor the national men’s and women’s hockey teams for the next five years.

Patnaik, while unveiling the logo that will don the new jerseys of Team India’s Men’s and Women’s hockey teams, here at a special function organised by Hockey India , said , “We are delighted at this association with Indian hockey and we thank Hockey India to have given us this platform. Hockey in Odisha is more than a sport; it’s a way of life, especially in our tribal regions, where children learn to walk with hockey sticks. No wonder, Odisha has produced India’s finest hockey talent. This is a first where a state government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but will support and nurture the Indian Hockey Teams. This is Odisha’s gift to the nation.”

The chief minister said, “We would like this association to help widen the net for hockey in India and to ensure that all Indians get behind the national sport. We hope that Odisha’s association with national hockey coincides with a golden period for the sport. We are looking forward to all the nations playing the Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneshwar this year. We extend a warm invite to everyone to see team India in action.”

The Odisha government is hosting the Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar  from November 28 to December 16, this year.

Hockey India president Mariamma Koshy said,   “We are delighted to associate with Odisha government and we are confident that this association will be a boon for further developing the sport of hockey in India and bringing more glory to the country”, he said adding, “As the team gears up for the Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup we urge one and all to extend their cheer to Team India and support their quest to bring the World Cup home.”

The newly designed logo on the Indian national hockey team jersey is a summation of Odisha. At its heart the Konark Wheel: a symbol of progress and empowerment, the land of the rising sun, the famed coastline that has for centuries been a trade route and even today welcomes the endangered Olive Ridley turtles, the Odissi dance form and hockey which unites the entire state.