Hockey: Black Sticks veteran Phil Burrows retires

Phil Burrows has retired from international hockey. Photosport
Phil Burrows has retired from international hockey. Photosport

New Zealand's most capped Black Sticks player of all time Phil Burrows has announced his retirement from international hockey.

Burrows made his debut in 2000 and played 343 tests in a career which saw him compete at three Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games and four World Cups.

He remains one of only three players who have ever eclipsed the 300 test mark for New Zealand, leading fellow retired greats Ryan Archibald (327) and Dean Couzins (318).

The 36-year-old is also the Black Sticks' most prolific goal scorer of all time having found the back of the net 150 times from either the striker or midfielder positions.

Burrows has been relishing a different role for the Black Sticks as an assistant coach at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne and decided the time was right to retire.

"I wasn't really even thinking about it to be honest but I saw a few other guys retiring and thought it was a good time to do it, especially being in Melbourne with the guys," he said.

"I'm pretty upset to let the international game go but am really liking the fact that I'm still involved in the game of hockey. I think I would've been a lot more upset if I'd had to give everything away.

"I was lucky enough to travel all around the world playing the game I love and the main thing is the friends I've gained all over the world."

Burrows is currently living in Melbourne where he still plays club hockey and is becoming increasingly involved in coaching.

Having played in so many major tournaments for New Zealand across a career spanning 16 years, he said he's created plenty of special moments but perhaps none more so than forging friendships.

"People always say 'what are your best moments' and I've had plenty, but some of the best moments for me haven't even been on the pitch they've just been spending time with the guys.

"Game wise though, at the 2002 Commonwealth Games I had a pretty good semi and scored four against Pakistan so that's a massive highlight and always will be.

"Also the 2004 Olympic Games as a team we performed above expectations and personally I had a good tournament and managed to take out top field goal scorer so I was pretty happy with that and it's something I'll remember forever.

"A special thank you to everyone who supported me during my career including the New Zealand public and hockey communities around the country. My family has got to be number one, with mum and dad paying for all those trips and driving me to trainings when I was younger, they're the ones who got me to where I am today."

- NZ Herald

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