Gaddum calls time on Black Sticks career

By Hockey NZ

The most capped Black Sticks Womens player of all time has announced her retirement from international hockey.

Emily Gaddum has decided to hang up the black singlet and prepare for a more settled lifestyle with her first child due in January.

The 30-year-old midfielder/defender made her debut in 2004 and has amassed an unrivalled 274 caps for New Zealand.

Over 12 years she competed at three Olympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012) and three Commonwealth Games (Melbourne 2006, Delhi 2010 where the team won the silver medal and Glasgow 2012 which saw a bronze medal finish).

"It was definitely a tough decision but I feel the time is right now to look ahead to the next challenge," she said.

"Im pretty comfortable in finishing after a good career, my last game was against Australia in Darwin where we won the final so that was a nice way to go out."

Gaddum (nee Naylor) has always been known for her hard-nosed style of play and incredible skill and composure, in earlier years as a midfielder and most recently back in defence.

She has gone through several different coaching regimes under Ian Rutledge, Kevin Towns and Mark Hager who has been with the team for the past eight years.

"Theyve all been great coaches and Ive taken things off each of them along the way. Mark in particular has been a huge part of my hockey career on a personal level, he really changed the game for us in creating an up tempo attacking style."

Gaddum was just 18 years old when she played her first test for New Zealand and has made plenty of good friends who she has played alongside, none more so than Kayla Whitelock.

"Its been pretty amazing playing alongside Kayla for last 12 years, particularly growing up together in Palmerston North, its been a very special bond from a young age.

"Playing for New Zealand was always a dream so to debut that young and have the privilege to wear the shirt so many times is unbelievable.

"Ive had great support from my family, husband Harry and all my coaches and had some amazing times and memories so I feel very fortunate."

Despite her retirement, Gaddum will still be heavily involved in hockey at a local level both as a player and coach, having helped coach Iona at the recent Federation Cup secondary school tournament.

She is currently working for Hawkes Bay Hockey and will also remain working for the popular Hawkes Bay Festival of Hockey, which is set for its fourth year in April next year.

Head coach Mark Hager said Emily has been an integral part of the squad during his time at the helm for the Black Sticks.

"Emily has been the backbone of the Black Sticks defence throughout her career. When I first came on board in 2009 she was part of the leadership group that helped create a team first approach," Hager said.

"She was a player who led from the field with her ability to defuse many attacks from opposition teams. Currently still as the highest capped player shows the commitment Emily had for her country and her love of hockey.

"Emily showed our group a professionalism required to play on the International stage and has achieved a great deal throughout her hockey career.

"It has been a pleasure to be a part of her career and I wish Emily and her family all the best for the future. She will be missed and will go down as one of New Zealands best ever defenders."

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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