Hong Kong Billionaire Ken Kai-Tak spearheaded the idea of the World League in the late 1940s. The idea came to fruition in 1953 when ‘The Charter Seven’ began play: Chicago, Valparaiso, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo.
Major expansions took place in 1961, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1974 and 1978 – helping spread the excitement of the World League around the planet. The Globo merger in 1981 added 45 more teams to the league.
In 2012, 160 cities began play for the World League Championship. A total of 223 cities have had teams in the World League since 1957.
Tokyo Six and the Hong Kong Dragons dominated the league in the 1950s and 60s. The Dragons rank first in overall league crowns with nine. Stanley Tong guided The team to seven consecutive championships between from 1958 and 1965. Their many stars included Winchester Yung, Rum Punch Xiu and Golden Barry Lo. Remember Lo’s record of 384 goals in the 1962 season? Of course you don’t.
The New York Anchormen became ‘America’s Team’ in 1977 with their near perfect season. Their record of 83 straight wins may never be equalled.
The World League championship trophy also has a proud and fascinating history. Since 1953 this enduring symbol of sporting excellence has been handed out every year, except 1961 of course, because of the Grantham Incident.
League fans in South Asia will be pleased to know that Sarawak Pottery, a royal warrant holder in Brunei, has agreed to repair the 40 year old Rabindranath Mango Vase. The vase was damaged at Helsinki-Vantaa last season during a fall by team owner Lehto Isomäki.