New Delhi: Belgian goal-poacher Tom Boon fetched the highest price in a closed bidding Saturday for the 2015 Hockey India League (HIL), getting picked up by new team Dabang Mumbai (DM) for $103,000, as star Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh was bagged up by Uttar Pradesh Wizards (UPW) for $69,000.
The 24-year-old Boon, with a base price of $20,000, became the league's costliest player after a highly successful year, getting named in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) All-Star team. He was also in contention for the FIH Player of the Year award.
Boon, a deadly striker who plays for Dutch club HC Bloemendaal, is known for his lethal penalty corner conversions.
Among the 42 players selected by the teams in the bidding, young Indian drag-flickers Gurjinder Singh ($65,000) and Harmanpreet Singh ($51,000) went to Kalinga Lancers and Dabang Mumbai, respectively.
Mumbai also bagged mid-fielders V.S. Vinay ($46,000) and Arjun Halappa ($44,000).
Ranchi's new franchise Ranchi Rays, co-owned by Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, took two talented Australians in Trent Mitton ($67,000) and Daniel Beale ($35,000) apart from picking four young players.
The star players of the now-defunct Ranchi Rhinos team - skipper Moritz Furste, Barry Middleton, Ashley Jackson, Mandeep Singh, Manpreet singh, Kothajit Singh, Nicolas Wilson will be part of the Rays team.
Mumbai picked up all its 24 players Saturday, bagging four key Australian players - experienced Australian defender and 2011 FIH Young Player of the Year Matthew Swann ($78,000), striker Glenn Turner ($61,000), 2014 World Cup Young Player of the Tournament Jeremy Hayward ($46,000) and defender Timothy Deavin ($21,000).
Veteran Dutch playmaker Floris Evers ($26,000), who played for inaugural champions Ranchi Rhinos, also moved to Mumbai, who picked Ireland's David Harte ($51,000) and Adrian D'Souza ($31,000) as their goalkeepers.
Mumbai will have former India international Viren Rasquinha as the team's chief mentor and German Valentin Altenburg will be the coach.
Defending champions Delhi Waveriders selected three players - New Zealand defender Andrew Hayward ($41,000), Gurpreet Singh ($5,200) and set-piece specialist Diwakar Ram ($3,000).
Five-time FIH World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer-captained Jaypee Punjab Warriors picked mid-fielder Simranjeet Singh ($24,000).
Indian hockey's high performance manager Roelant Oltmans-coached Wizards got Dutch mid-fielder Bob De Voogd ($31,000), New Zealand's Shea Mcaleese (18,000) and Sumit ($4,000).
Lancers purchased striker Roshan Minz ($45,000), Pradhan Somanna ($21,000) and Australian custodian Andrew Charter ($21,000).
"It was a successful closed bid session today. All franchises went for the players that they had targeted and ensured that they bid for them successfully. Tom Boon the highest bid player, picked by Dabang Mumbai became the highest paid player of all three seasons," HIL CEO Elena Norman said at the event.
The 2015 HIL will be held Jan 22-Feb 22.