Hockey is keeping it in the family

By Terry Maddaford

Carolyn Lancaster and Nicky Howes play as goalkeepers. Photo / Dean Purcell
Carolyn Lancaster and Nicky Howes play as goalkeepers. Photo / Dean Purcell

Hockey in this country gives new meaning to "happy families".

A flick through the list of New Zealand representatives - stretching back to the earliest years of last century - quickly reveals a host of family ties, including some of the best known names in the sport.

Near the top of that list is Archibald - Jeff and Ryan, father and son who are acclaimed as two of the best to pull on a black shirt. They are joined by other recognisable names including Borren, Childs, Hari, Ineson, Maister, Miskimmin, Patel and Towns and more. On the women's side too there are sisters, including Hamahona, Igasan, and more recently Charlotte and Samantha Harrison from the current Black Sticks squad.

That trait has again spilled over to this week's National Hockey League, though many siblings are not turning out for the same teams.

The Blackwood sisters, Bridget and Georgie, are playing for Canterbury and Central respectively. Cam Hayde got one up on brother Mitch when Midlands beat Canterbury in round five.

Sisters Carolyn Lancaster and Nicky Howes even lined up as goalkeepers against each other when Howes' North Harbour team beat Northland 6-0 in the opening weekend.

It is no surprise the sisters are the last line of defence - goalkeeping is in the Whangarei family's blood.

"My sisters Justine and Carolyn and our brother Adam all played in goal, so I suppose it was inevitable I would too," said Howes, 23, as she prepared for yesterday's crucial game for Harbour against Canterbury.

"There is a strong family feeling for hockey in Whangarei and we have just been part of that, even if we have gone elsewhere to go to university and play for other teams. It was the first sport we were involved in when we came from England."

Elsewhere Black Stick Shay Neal is turning out for Northland while sister Brooke is at Midlands, but brother and sister Jan and Dwayne Rowsell are in their respective Auckland teams.

Sisters Aleyse and Lauren Emirali also played against each other for Northland and North Harbour respectively. In the past Aleyse's twin brother Ryan has played for Midlands.

In Monday's 3-2 win for Southern over Northland, sisters Aleesha and Shareena Nana turned out for teams from the opposite ends of the country while twin sisters Kim Gill and Amanda Green were pitted against each other when Midlands and North Harbour played out a 1-1 draw on opening day. Jenna and Kristie Anderson are also twins but they too have been up against each other playing for Capital and Central respectively.

It is the same story for the van Woerkom brothers Benedict and Daniel, with the former claiming bragging rights after Capital beat Central in round one. There is no such split loyalty in the Panchia family, however, with Jared and Arun both playing for Auckland, just as the Lett boys Dane and Trent are together at Capital.

Peter Miskimmin, boss of Sport New Zealand and at the NHL as a New Zealand selector, must have divided loyalties. The first player to play 150 times for his country (including the Los Angeles and Barcelona Olympics), he played his provincial hockey for Wellington, now Capital. His sons Tim and Sam are playing for Canterbury and Auckland respectively.

There are other family connections, such as Aniwaka Roberts playing for Capital with sister, and former Black Stick, Niniwa as assistant coach.

Nick Ross plays for Midlands but father Dave is coaching the Southern men. Kit Rutherford is one of the tournament's match directors, daughter Sally a Black Sticks goalkeeper, plays for Midlands.

- NZ Herald

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