(Photo: © 2008 Getty images / FIH)

The Black Sticks Men’s National Squad has been announced just ahead of the BDO Men’s World Cup Qualifier, to be held in Invercargill from 7-15 November 2009. This will be the last opportunity for the team to qualify for the World Cup to be held in Delhi, India in March 2010.

Five new players have made the twenty-four strong squad, off the back of solid performances at the National Hockey League and the Junior World Cup. Arun Panchia (Auckland), Hugo Inglis (Midlands) Priyesh Bhana, Joseph Bartholomew (North Harbour) and Blair Hilton (Wellington) are the new faces. Bartholomew, Panchia, Hilton and Inglis were all members of the Junior Black Sticks team that came 4th at the Junior World Cup in June 2009.

New to the development squad are Jason Niles (Canterbury), Matt L’Huillier (Wellington) and Auckland midfielder, Marcus Child, who was also a member of the successful Junior Black Sticks team. Other changes include David Green and Shay Neal moving from the National Squad to the Development Squad, with expectations to lead those less experienced players.

Coach Shane McLeod completes his squad with a core of returning veterans including the likes of Ryan Archibald, Dean Couzins (Auckland), Phil Burrows (Wellington), Blair Hopping (North Harbour) and Hayden Shaw (Canterbury) who have all played over 150 tests. These Hockey stalwarts will provide some much needed experience ahead of a tough campaign to qualify for and succeed at the World Cup.

Notable absences from this year’s national squad are Midlands’ player Lloyd Stephenson and North Harbour’s David Kosoof and who have both retired from international hockey.

The Black Sticks Men will go into camp later this month to prepare for their November qualifying tournament where they will be up against Austria, China, Malaysia, Scotland and Wales. For tickets to this exciting event, see the Hockey New Zealand website - www.hockeynz.co.nz – for more details.

Black Sticks Men’s National Squad:
Ryan Archibald, Priyesh Bhana, Joel Bake, Joseph Bartholomew, Phillip Burrows, Simon Child, Ben Collier, Dean Couzins, Steve Edwards, Stephen Graham, Nick Haig, Andy Hayward, Casey Henwood, Blair Hilton, Blair Hopping, Hugo Inglis, Shea McAleese, James Nation, Arun Panchia, Richard Petherick, Kyle Pontifex, Bradley Shaw, Hayden Shaw, Nick Wilson

Development Squad:
Marcus Child, David Green, Stephen Jenness, Matt L’Huillier, Shay Neal, Jason Niles, Nick Ross, Issac Staples, Blair Tarrant

Source: Hockey New Zealand