Black Sticks players will be receiving a much-needed funding boost thanks to a new multi-million dollar deal.
Hockey New Zealand announced a new funding arrangement with businessman and philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn, which will see the Blacks Sticks men's and women's national squads receive $2 million a year for two years starting from next month.
Glenn confirmed he is donating $1 million per annum for two years to New Zealand's elite hockey squads, with the New Zealand government agreeing to match the donation through High Performance Sport NZ and Hockey NZ as part of the deal.
Hockey NZ boss Ian Francis said the grant comes at an important time as the sport goes through significant changes.
"Our players are competing in the [FIH international] pro leagues in 2019 which will take the sport to a new level and make demands on our players like never before," Francis told Radio Sport.
"So we knew that we needed to raise significant additional funds and we're very grateful that Sir Owen has generously donated a proportion of the costs towards that."
The deal will be paid monthly direct to each player in the new contracted squads (25 players from the men's and women's sides), which are yet to be announced.
Under-fire Black Sticks women coach Mark Hager will still be part of the selection process to pick the new squads, despite an ongoing review into the team culture following claims that Hager created a negative environment within the side.
Francis told Radio Sport he was confident with the selection process and that there will be no conflict of interest, despite Hager's involvement.
"Mark is our head coach and we've got a team of selectors in and around him, and there is actually a full selection process to undertake. So yes we are confident in the process."
Glenn, who has had a long association with hockey in New Zealand, said he hoped the funding would give the Black Sticks sides a better chance at winning medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"The Black Sticks now have the same funding as other leading national hockey teams.
"My hope is that it will allow both the men's and women's teams to focus on training and preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. I really believe we have a chance at winning gold with the right support."