Following an illustrious career for the Black Sticks which started in 2008 at the age of 18, New Zealand striker Gemma McCaw [née Flynn] has decided to call time on her impressive career. McCaw went to three Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) with the New Zealand side and played an integral role in helping the team to fourth-place finishes at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympiads.
After Rio 2016, McCaw took time away from the game. However, after giving birth in December 2018, she made a stunning return to the turf in 2019 at New Zealand’s Ford National Hockey League, (NHL) showing that she had lost none of her incredible speed or her eye for goal as she finished as the competition’s leading scorer, earning a National Contract for the 2020 hockey season in the process.
In her return game for the Black Sticks, McCaw wasted little time in reminding everyone what they had been missing since 2016, scoring a superb goal against Belgium’s Red Panthers in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020. Before the interruption, she played her 250th match for New Zealand in a drawn game against Great Britain women.
in a message to her fans and followers on Instagram, McCaw explained the reasons behind her decision.
“When I came out of retirement to re-join the Black Sticks last year, I was so excited to be back playing and working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. No one could’ve imagined a global pandemic getting in the way of that dream, but there are things beyond our control. Lockdown taught me many things, but most importantly those seven weeks at home brought into focus just how important family is. So, with that in mind, I’ve made the decision to end my Black Sticks journey here.
“I am so glad I gave it another shot and I’m proud to have done this as a Mum, but I feel it’s time now to focus on our family. I’d like to thank my coach Graham [Shaw] and my teammates for their support as well as my family and friends. A very special mention to my husband [former New Zealand rugby star Richie McCaw] for his unwavering encouragement and being the best Dad to Lottie that we could ever ask for. To my little girl, I love you beyond words, thank you for travelling so well and being my motivation each step of the way. And last but certainly not least, my heart-felt thanks goes to my amazing mum, who gave up a year of her life to support us. This would not have been possible without you. It takes a village, and I’m so grateful for mine #thankyou
Speaking about the news, Black Sticks women’s head coach Graham Shaw said: “Gemma really impressed me with her hard-working attitude from the very start. She is not only a great player but a fantastic person that will be greatly missed in the Black Sticks program. I would like to wish Gemma and her family all the very best for the future.”
In her final performance for the Black Sticks, McCaw played an instrumental role to helping the Kiwis beat second-ranked Argentina 5-3, in front of her adopted hometown at Ngā Puna Wai in Christchurch. She finishes her international career with 254 caps and a hugely impressive 72 goals.
On behalf of the international hockey community, the FIH would like to congratulate Gemma McCaw on her superb career and wish her every success in the years ahead.
More information about Gemma McCaw’s retirement can be found .