A stark reminder of the gruelling toll international hockey can take on players.

The men's Black Sticks are preparing to play hosts Malaysia in their opening game of the Azlan Shah Cup overnight, with the team so far experiencing 35 degree heat, stifling humidity and thunder storms.

Black Sticks striker Nick Wilson says it results in some pretty significant fluid loss.

Wilson says they average player loses about four kilos per game, so they have to be very conscious of refuelling.

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The Black Sticks are the defending champions.