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Almost 40 years after they won gold at the Montreal Olympics, the men of the 1976 New Zealand hockey team will come together for a special celebration this weekend.

The reunion of the Olympic champions coincides with the release of the book Striking Gold, the compelling story of these largely unsung sporting heroes, written by award-winning journalist Suzanne McFadden.

The book will be officially launched at a gala dinner at the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch on Saturday night. The team will then gather at Nunweek Park on Sunday morning (April 3), so kids and adults alike can rub shoulders with these great Olympians and see their gold medals. 

Striking Gold recalls the Montreal summer of 1976, when a band of tenacious Kiwis triumphed against all odds to be crowned Olympic champions.

They were a formidable team of men from diverse walks of life: a boilermaker and a Rhodes Scholar; a water-sider and an architect; an upholsterer and an engineer; teachers and students. All united in one goal - to beat the world's best and win gold.

Together they overcame a series of challenges and crises: from the threat of a boycott, and the unknown of artificial turf; to the bravery of goalie Trevor Manning playing with a shattered kneecap, the agony of two players refused gold medals, and the mateship that glued them.  The dramatic recount is as much about social history as sport - examining the effects of terrorism, boycotts and international politics which marked the Mexico, Munich, Montreal and Moscow Games

Striking Gold weaves together each man’s story with the team’s epic quest, rising to a dramatic and heroic final that lives on today in New Zealand sporting folklore.

Fifteen members of the team who were in Montreal will be reunited at the dinner, MCed by legendary Kiwi broadcaster Brendan Telfer, who was the TV commentator for the final 40 years ago.

The Olympic champions will be at Nunweek Park on Sunday from 11am. Books will be able to be purchased and signed at the event, and there will be a free BBQ.

The members of the 1976 New Zealand hockey team who won gold are:  Paul Ackerley, Jeff Archibald, Tur Borren, Alan Chesney, John Christensen, Greg Dayman, Tony Ineson, Alan McIntyre, Neil McLeod, Barry Maister, Selwyn Maister, Trevor Manning, Arthur Parkin, Mohan Patel, Ramesh Patel, Les Wilson. Coach: Ross Gillespie. Manager: Tony Palmer.

Striking Gold will be on sale from April 1, at bookstores throughout the country and online at Just Hockey  www.justhockey.co.nz.

 “A fascinating story of one of New Zealand’s greatest sporting teams… Striking Gold blends their incredible journey with the politics, culture and personalities of the time.  I was both inspired and moved by this amazing team of unsung New Zealand heroes.” - Rob Waddell, Olympic rowing gold medallist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Award-winning journalist Suzanne McFadden has written in the New Zealand media for three decades, specialising in capturing the essence of people and sport.

Beginning her career at the Bay of Plenty Times, she then spent 15 years in the newsroom of the New Zealand Herald. As a sports journalist, she made her name covering hockey, netball, cycling and yachting, including three America’s Cups and the 2000 Olympics.

She is now a successful freelance writer living in Auckland, with her husband, journalist Eugene Bingham, and two sons Marc and Kieran. Hockey remains her No. 1 sporting passion.

Striking Gold is her first book.

Suzanne McFadden

 

Montreal 1976 Hockey
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