The New Zealand Women’s hockey team has been named for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Players were welcomed to the New Zealand Team at an announcement event co-hosted by the New Zealand Olympic Committee and Hockey New Zealand on Monday.
The team is spearheaded by the vastly experienced duo of captain Stacey Michelsen and Anita McLaren, who will both be competing at their third successive Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next month.
Michelsen, recently named a finalist for World Player of the Year, carries immense talent and experience having amassed 248 test caps for New Zealand while McLaren (252 caps) brings genuine firepower as the women’s all-time leading goal scorer, currently just one shy of her 100th goal.
Both players will be hungry to complete their set of Commonwealth Games medals having won silver at Delhi 2010 and bronze at Glasgow 2014.
Northland striker Madison Doar is the youngest player named in the side at 18 years of age, earning selection thanks to her performance over the past 12 months.
Head coach Mark Hager says the group is confident it has what it takes to bring home a medal.
“We know all teams will arrive well prepared at the Commonwealth Games and we certainly aren’t taking anything for granted, but our expectations on ourselves are very high,” Hager said.
“We’ve put our faith in the majority of players who played and finished second at the World League Final in December, and are confident we have the necessary talent in this side.
“Given our performances over recent years there will rightly be an expectation on us to win a medal and I think it’s healthy to have that pressure and it's great to know we'll have support on the Gold Coast and back home.”
The women's team also wore the New Zealand Team uniform for the first time at today's announcement.
The predominant colour palette of black, white and charcoal-marle, creates a unique kiwi flavour that resonates strongly with the athletes. Subtle prints bring in the words NZ and the fern, while bold white text highlights our country name.
The women's hockey team today were dressed in the podium tracksuit for the formal announcement followed by the casual training uniform.
The opening ceremony and formal uniforms will be seen at games time.
The uniform is made up of a comprehensive range of garments designed to mix and match for the multiple week stay in the games village. The design process has been a collaboration between the athletes, PEAK clothing and the NZOC.
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith passed on her congratulations to the women’s side as their inclusion now boosts the New Zealand team on the Gold Coast to 185 athletes.
"We're thrilled to name a strong Women's Hockey Team for Gold Coast 2018," said Smith.
"This is a team bristling with talent and the games will be a must watch as these athletes take on the best in the Commonwealth.
"Well done to all of the athletes selected and I'm looking forward to watching this group of talented women represent New Zealand with pride and honour in just over three weeks time."
"It was also great to see the uniform for the first time. The arrival of the team uniform is always a significant milestone and we look forward to distributing to all the athletes over the coming weeks."
Sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the 10 competing nations for both men’s and women’s competitions are divided into two pools of five based on their FIH World Rankings.
The hockey competition runs from 5-14 April at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre and sees each side play all other pool opponents before the top two from each pool progress to the semi-finals and medal matches.
Each team consists of 18 players, with a total of 360 athletes participating in the GC2018 hockey competition.
Pool B is headlined by the New Zealand Women along with trans-Tasman rivals Australia, Scotland, Canada and Ghana while Pool A includes England, India, South Africa, Malaysia and Wales.
The Kiwis open their Commonwealth Games campaign against Scotland at 1:30pm (NZ time) on Thursday 5th April.
The New Zealand Women have won three medals at past Commonwealth Games including bronze at Kuala Lumpur 1998, silver at Delhi 2010 and bronze at Glasgow 2014.
Commonwealth Games Hockey