Hockey New Zealand has named a wider Black Sticks Men’s squad of 34 players and will be calling on the newly appointed head coach Colin Batch to select the 25 players for the 2013 National Squad when he arrives in early November.
There is a mixture of young talent and experience in the wider squad named today, with 15 of the 16 players from the London Olympics team selected. Senior player Ryan Archibald is the exception, making himself unavailable for selection next year.
Captain Dean Couzins says it is pleasing that the Olympic team have put their hand up for reselection.
“We feel frustrated with how we performed at the Olympics and we want to prove as individuals, and more importantly as a New Zealand team, that we are capable of doing a lot better. We want to be part of a team where we are achieving and getting the results that we think we are capable of,” says Couzins.
“I think it is a great thing that Colin will be here selecting [the national squad of 25], he will obviously have some thoughts on how to rejuvenate the team and will bring some fresh ideas and a new direction. There are some really strong younger players coming through, some which just missed Olympic selection and they will want to prove themselves,” says Couzins.
The creation of the Owen G Glenn Future Black Sticks programme last year alongside the emerging Regional Talent Programme means that New Zealand athletes are being better identified and developed.
“These programmes are critical if we are to develop the next generation of Black Sticks and have players vying for national selection,” says Hockey New Zealand’s high performance manager Toni Cumpston.
The squad will start training from 8 October. There is a specialist goalkeeping camp scheduled from 1-3 November where an additional goalkeeper will be added to the squad.
Black Sticks Ben Collier and Stephen Graham are the only other two national players that have elected to take a year off to focus on life outside of hockey. Both players were in the 2012 National Squad but neither were selected in the Olympic team.
The Black Sticks Men’s next major tournament is the FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne from 1-9 December. Other teams competing are Germany, Australia, England, Netherlands, Belgium, India and Pakistan.
The selectors for the wider squad were former head coach Shane McLeod, Peter Miskimmin, Grant Edwards and assistant coach Darren Smith.
View the 2012/13 Black Sticks Men’s Wider Squad here
Source: Hockey New Zealand Media release
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