Hockey New Zealand today received news that Hayden Shaw has been granted a release from his Canterbury Cricket contract.

The news is certainly welcomed by Hockey New Zealand given that Dion Gosling (a key defender) announced his retirement yesterday.

Shaw’s timely release from cricket means his potent drag flick will be available to the Black Stick’s during the Oceania World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Suva from 15–19 November 2005. This tournament involves New Zealand, Australia and Fiji with the winner gaining an automatic berth at the 2006 BDO Hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach.

In addition, Shaw’s availability enhances the Black Sticks chances of another Commonwealth Games medal in Melbourne 2006.

Gosling’s speed and agility were the hallmarks of his game early in his career and over the latter years he has provided the defence with consistent stability and leadership.

Gosling has played 169 Test matches for New Zealand and will be sorely missed.