Hockey: Black Sticks men confirm 2016 squad

Black Sticks men build a circle ahead of the game against India. Photo / Getty Images
Black Sticks men build a circle ahead of the game against India. Photo / Getty Images

Black Sticks Men's head coach Colin Batch has named a strong 2016 squad in the lead up to this year's Rio Olympic Games.

The 25 man squad is highlighted by a combination of experience and exciting young talent, with all eight regions from around New Zealand represented.

Veterans Ryan Archibald (299 tests), Simon Child (245) and Shea McAleese (221) are the most experienced campaigners with 765 international caps between them.

Batch said selections for the national squad were extremely tough given the growing depth and quality of players within the wider group.

"The 25 players we have named in the national squad have the best opportunity to be selected for Rio, and we have seen a lot of pressure from within the group to further the development of each individual which is pleasing," he said.

"While we still look to leadership from the more experienced players like Ryan, Brad and Kyle, it's the younger group who are taking on more and more responsibility. That's a shift we're seeing within the squad right now in our evolution to building a sustainable level of experience."

Canterbury striker Dominic Newman is the only debutant named in the squad, and has been rewarded for an impressive 2015 season playing Under 21s and the Ford National Hockey League.

The 19-year-old said he was surprised to get the call-up but excited about the prospect of playing for his country at the highest level.

"I was stunned to get the call from Colin to make the big jump, but I'm really humbled and looking forward to doing my absolute best for the squad," he said.

"I'm really excited to be part of the group. There are guys in the team that have been there a long time and players like Ryan and Simon who I looked up to as a kid."

Veterans Phil Burrows, Andy Hayward and Steve Edwards were not selected for the squad, but have not signalled any intent to retire from international hockey and remain under consideration for future selection.

A further group of 10 players has been named in the Men's Development Squad, which is made up of some impressive players who will be supported in their future development.

The Black Sticks Women's 2016 National Squad will be named next week.

- NZ Herald

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