Black Sticks captain Stacey Michelsen is hoping to lead her squad to Commonwealth Games glory on the Gold Coast.

The Northland defender was named as captain of the 18-strong squad, which includes fellow Northlanders Ella Gunson, Brooke Neal and Madison Doar.

Michelsen said the excitement is bubbling heading into the Games.

"It's a really exciting time and I'm really honoured. I'm looking forward to getting over to the Gold Coast with the girls and having the opportunity to lead them into a Commonwealth Games campaign," she said.


"I'll have a mixture of both leadership styles I think. My tendency is a bit more lead by example when we are on the field but I will try to encourage and support the girls vocally as well. That's very important.

"We've got an exciting group heading over. There's a core group who have played a lot of hockey together and then there's a couple of young ones that bring so much flair and speed."

Northland provides a strong contingent of players for the squad. Michelsen, Gunson and Neal have formed a defensive core that boasts over 550 international caps while 18-year-old Doar has impressed in her short time in the national setup.

Michelsen said having a big presence in the side says a lot about Northland as a hockey province.

"It's so cool to have four of us Northlanders out of 18 in the squad. That's really exciting for us and the province," she said.

"It just goes to show that Northland is still and always has produced strong women's hockey players.

"I think that's down to the amazing coaches and people willing to put in their time and effort to help out.

"Growing up you have so many people influence your career and us Northlanders are really lucky for the quality of people we have involved in the game."


The Black Sticks have never taken home the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, their best finish coming in 2010 at the Delhi Games where they grabbed a silver medal.

They are coming into the competition on the back of strong form in 2017, finishing second in the FIH World Hockey League Finals hosted by Auckland.

Michelsen said their goal is to go where no New Zealand hockey team has gone before.

"We certainly have a team goal of getting gold and we will certainly be disappointed if we come away with anything less than that," she said.

"There's a few girls who have been to Commonwealth Games before and never have won the gold. It's what we have our sights set on. The girls who haven't been there before definitely share that goal with us."

Standing in their way will be some strong outfits, namely hosts Australia and England who took gold and silver respectively at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

Michelsen is wary of the threats they possess.

"Obviously our rivals Australia will be a really tough match. We haven't played them since the Oceania Series where we didn't perform as well as we would have liked," he said.

"We haven't seen a lot of them for a while since they weren't involved in the World Hockey League Final we hosted so it'll be interesting to see how they've developed over the past few months.

"England will be really strong once again. When we come up against them it's always hard to pick who is going to win. In terms of head to head it's pretty even between us."

The Kiwis open their Commonwealth Games campaign against Scotland at 1.30pm (NZ time) on April 5.