Experienced New Zealand squad contains a total of 2125 caps
The Black Sticks team that competes at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy at North Harbour this December will be one of the most experienced sides in New Zealand’s hockey history – with the team having 2,125 caps between them.
Phil Burrows (262), Ryan Archibald (251), Blair Hopping (240) and Dean Couzins (237) will bring the most experience to the team when they compete against the best teams in the world, in what will be the last major event prior to the 2012 London Olympics.
Black Sticks Men’s coach Shane McLeod says that although this tournament will be a real challenge, the team is confident leading into it and recent results, including a win and a draw with world number one Australia at the Oceania Cup in Hobart last month, have helped with preparations.
“A number of the younger athletes really stepped up to the challenge at Oceania Cup and had an impact on the games which was very pleasing,” says McLeod.
“We are currently ranked seventh and our aim at the moment is to be consistently ranked within the top six teams. Having the support of a local crowd and the benefit of playing on our home pitch will really help – that is something we have never had at this level,” says McLeod.
McLeod has selected Shay Neal (Northland) as a sixth striker in the team. “Shay has really improved and has had some great performances lately. Having a sixth striker in the team will help - we are always looking for players that will add to our attacking strength,” says McLeod.
After three years of Phil Burrows leading the team, McLeod has selected Dean Couzins as captain for this tournament and also in the build up to the 2012 London Olympics.
“I believe that Dean will bring a lot to the team as captain – he has co-vice captained the team for quite some time and stepped up to captain the team on occasions in Phil’s absence. I know that Dean will help us continue to move forward as a group. He has a strong connection with all the players in the group and always puts the team first,” says McLeod.
“Phil has offered a huge amount to the team as captain over the last three years and I’m hugely grateful for that. I see him being a really critical player in our success towards London and he will continue to be a valuable senior member of our group,” says McLeod.
McLeod says that there is a need to really foster and develop the culture of the team if they are to perform with excellence at the Olympics next year, and that Couzins is the best person for the job.
Players are currently training within their region and will centralise in Auckland for two weeks prior to the tournament (from the 21 November), with turf trainings at North Harbour and strength and conditioning sessions at the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health.
Strikers Nick Wilson, Simon Child as well as midfielder Steve Edwards are all returning from Europe to compete. The Black Sticks will take on Germany, Korea and Holland in their pool games.
The Champions Trophy is from 3-11 December at North Harbour Hockey Stadium in Albany.
Eight of the best teams in the world will compete – with 24 games being played over the six days of the competition. For more information or to buy tickets go to www.championstrophy.co.nz
Black Sticks Men, Champions Trophy, 3 – 11 December 2011, Auckland
Shirt # Player Name Position Age Caps
5 Andy Hayward Defender 26 112
6 Simon Child Forward 23 152
7 Blair Hopping Defender 31 240
8 Dean Couzins (C) Defender 30 237
9 Blair Hilton Forward 22 62
12 Bradley Shaw Defender 28 124
15 Stephen Graham Goalkeeper 26 25
17 Kyle Pontifex Goalkeeper 31 130
18 Phillip Burrows Midfielder 31 262
22 Blair Tarrant Defender 21 41
25 Shea McAleese (VC) Midfielder 27 140
26 Matt L’Huillier Defender 24 13
27 Stephen Jenness Forward 21 32
23 Shay Neal Forward 21 16
29 Hugo Inglis Forward 20 63
10 Ryan Archibald Midfielder 31 251
31 Steve Edwards Midfielder 25 132
32 Nick Wilson Forward 21 93
Head Coach Shane McLeod
Assistant Coach Darren Smith
Assistant Coach Sean Dancer
Manager Kevin Marr
Physiotherapist Gavin D’Souza
Video Analyst Ian Hicks