Hockey is the national game of the Coorgs. The game is played with passion, come rain or shine. Like the coffee plantations, the British introduced hockey in Coorg.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that Coorg is a nursery of Indian hockey. For the last several decades, hockey players from Coorg have found representation in the Indian team to the Olympics. Arjun Halappa has now kept up the tradition and done India proud. Those from Coorg who have captained the Indian team in the past include the legendary B.P.Govinda, M.P.Ganesh and M.M.Somaiya.
In the recent years, the game of hockey has received a new lease of life. Pandanda Kuttappa, popularly known as Kuttani, a retired State Bank of India official and a hockey enthusiast, started family hockey tournament exclusively for the Coorg’s in 1997.
In this unique tournament, members of various Coorg families, play one another. There is no age or gender bar for participating in the matches, though of late, the tournament has become highly competitive, involving high caliber hockey. Of the over 700 Coorg families, more than 200 families have been sending their teams for the tournament which is played in the month of April. More than a sport, the family hockey has become a social event, with family members cheering up their teams with gusto. There is a festive atmosphere in the air with stalls coming up near the match venues, serving delicious Coorg dishes. The hockey festival has already found its name in the Limca Book of Records for the largest ever hockey event to be organized in any part of the world at one stretch.
The Kodava Hockey Academy is the apex body which has the final word on matters related to the tournament. Sixty families participated in the first tournament organized by the “Pandanda” family in 1997 at Karada which was won by the Kaliyanda family.
Following the landslides that hit Coorg in 2018, the Kodava hockey festival was not held for subsequent four years. Besides the landslides, the Covid pandemic also came in the way of holding the festival.
In 2023, the 23rd edition of the festival was hosted by the Appachettolanda family at Napoklu which saw participation from a record 336 teams. The Palanganda family holds the record for winning the cup five times.