Hockey: Vest cool aid to defender

By Kelly Exelby

Slipping an ice vest into his gear bag every day has become second nature for big Black Sticks defender Hayden Shaw.

Shaw, the Black Sticks' prince of penalty corners, is getting nailed by the heat at the Commonwealth Games as the mercury hits 33-34deg. Combined with humidity of around 85 per cent, it's a fast-track to the sick bay for Shaw unless he stays on top of it.

While locals have started preparing for winter, Shaw even dons the ice vest (think life jacket packed with blocks of ice) during team warm-ups.

He learned his lesson six years ago at the Athens Olympics: "I bottomed out a couple of times in Athens, just severely dehydrated due to a combination of all the running and the heat, although we're working smarter now.

"Being bigger [1.96m, and 101kg] I get nailed harder than the other boys, although I've always felt the heat."

Shaw straps on the ice vest as soon as he gets to the stadium and when he's off the turf. That was an unexpected 10 minutes in yesterday's 5-3 loss to England, with the 30-year-old Cantabrian yellow-carded after sending Barry Middleton sprawling.

Shaw returned to net from a penalty corner, giving him a double, but was annoyed England scored in his absence.

"Yellow's fairly rare in hockey, but when it's big man on little man then little man inevitably always goes flying. Yes, I blocked him, but I didn't feel I did anything untoward, certainly nothing that warranted that sort of reaction.

"They were saying there was intent, although when a guy my size has a collision it often looks worse that it is. "

- NZ Herald

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