Eight new players have been named today in the 2013 Black Sticks women's squad, with all debutants likely to get a run during the upcoming six-test series against India.
Five of the octet were in the Canterbury team that won this year's Ford National Hockey League title. Black Sticks women's head coach Mark Hager said it was promising to see the talent being developed in the region.
"We have been closely following the progress of all these young players - they have been part of the Future Black Sticks Programme and performing well at national tournaments. They have matured a lot as athletes, and we believe they are ready to take the step up," he said.
The eight new players are Michaela Curtis, Sian Fremaux, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts and Jenny Storey.
Reid, a year 13 school student from Timaru, admitted her call-up was a surprise.
"I had a feeling I might make it into the Junior Black Sticks, but didn't realise I would get as far as the national squad. It is pretty exciting - I can't quite believe it," she said.
Eleven of the 16 players who represented New Zealand at this year's Olympics, including Gemma Flynn, Katie Glynn, Stacey Michelsen and Anita Punt, have all been named in the squad. The other five have made themselves unavailable for 2013.
The exception is Samantha Harrison who has been omitted from the national squad and will be part of the development squad in 2013.
With Kayla Sharland, Krystal Forgesson, Bianca Russell and Emily Naylor on extended leave till early 2013, the upcoming home test series will allow Hager to rotate the new players.
The team will come together in Hawkes Bay on December 3 for a week's training camp before they play their first test.
The first two games are in Napier on December 8 and 9, then they play at Palmerston North on December 11 and 12 before going to Wellington for the final weekend on December 14 and 15.
Black Sticks women's squad: Bridget Blackwood, Sam Charlton, Michaela Curtis, Sophie Devine, Gemma Flynn, Krystal Forgesson, Sian Fremaux, Amelia Gibson, Katie Glynn, Ella Gunson, Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Emily Naylor, Anita Punt, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts, Bianca Russell, Sally Rutherford, Kayla Sharland, Jenny Storey, Petrea Webster.
2013 national development squad: Georgia Barnett, Liz Gifford, Kathryn Henry, Belinda Smith, Holly Gaskin, Danielle Jones, Jordan Grant, Rhiannon Dennison, Samantha Harrison, Anna Wetherall.
Black Sticks women's squad v India: Sam Charlton, Michaela Curtis, Gemma Flynn, Sian Fremaux, Amelia Gibson, Katie Glynn, Ella Gunson, Charlotte Harrison, Pippa Hayward, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Anita Punt, Cassandra Reid, Aniwaka Roberts, Sally Rutherford, Jenny Storey, Petrea Webster, Georgia Barnett.