Published Thursday 26 June 2014

Momentum gained at the FIH World Cup is expected to build for the New Zealand women’s hockey team named today ahead of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, underway next month.

Captained by experienced player Kayla Whitelock the team also became the first to model the new Glasgow 2014 official team uniform.

At a press conference held today in Auckland, New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith welcomed the players, each wearing their new formal team blazers, to the New Zealand team.

“I’m delighted to welcome these outstanding players to the New Zealand team,” said Smith.  Hockey is one of the most exciting events at the Commonwealth Games and we look forward to some hard-fought matches that Kiwis will get behind. I’m also pleased to see the team in their official team uniform, signaling an important milestone in our Glasgow preparations. ”

Coach Mark Hager says the team is confident they have what it takes to bring home a medal from Glasgow. 

“All the teams will turn up well prepared to the Commonwealth Games and we won’t be taking any game lightly, but if we can build on our performance from the World Cup and perform to our best we hope to be standing on the podium,” said Hager.

Senior players Whitelock, Emily Naylor, Krystal Forgesson, Gemma Flynn and Anita Punt have all played over 150 games pulling the team test cap average up to 108, but despite the teams international experience only seven players have competed at a Commonwealth Games before.

“One of the pleasing things is that even though there are a lot of new players in the team since London Olympics, we have higher expectations of ourselves than we did say four or five years ago and I think it highlights that the group has come a long way.”

New Zealand is ranked second in the competition below Australia, following their rise in rankings to fourth following the FIH World Cup.

“There is an expectation based on our ranking that we will medal and we believe it is healthy to have that pressure – I think it will help us perform,” said Hager. 

Whitelock said she’s honoured to be leading the team to Glasgow and proud to be wearing a uniform that clearly represents New Zealand and the unique character of the nation.

“I’m very proud to be part of the fantastic team named today, and to receive our official uniform is really special.

“We’ll be clearly recognizable as Kiwis and the black kit really shows we intend to represent New Zealand with pride.”

The uniform is traditional black and incorporates elements representing New Zealand’s special character and place in the world, including a stylized Southern Cross, tui and the letters NZ. It also sends a nod of respect to the host nation, Scotland, with reflections of the St Andrew’s Cross also incorporated in the design.

The Kiwis will face Trinidad and Tobago, India, South Africa and Canada in pool play.  The top two teams from each pool then progress to semi-finals ahead of the final game on Sunday 3rd August (NZ time).

All players are currently based in their home cities and have ten days of training until they depart Auckland to play in a warm–up Four Nations Tournament in Dublin (12-16 July) before arriving at the Athletes Village in Glasgow (18 July).

The New Zealand Commonwealth Games team now will be complete following the namings of the men’s hockey and rugby sevens teams in early July. 

The team is expected to number 235 athletes.

Black Sticks Women’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Team

Shirt #

Player Name

NHL Team

Position

Age

Caps

13

Sam CHARLTON

Midlands

Defender / Midfielder

22

94

17

Sophie COCKS

Canterbury

Striker / Midfielder

19

34

19

Rhiannon DENNISON

North Harbour

Defender

21

47

22

Gemma FLYNN

Midlands

Midfielder / Striker

24

175

3

Krystal FORGESSON

Auckland

Striker / Midfielder

31

210

5

Katie GLYNN

Auckland

Striker

25

124

27

Jordan GRANT

Canterbury

Midfielder / Striker

23

20

24

Rose KEDDELL

Midlands

Defender / Midfielder

20

45

4

Olivia MERRY

Canterbury

Striker

22

48

31

Stacey MICHELSEN

Northland

Midfielder / Defender

23

141

2

Emily NAYLOR

Central

Midfielder / Defender

28

246

32

Anita PUNT

Capital

Midfielder

26

161

8

Sally RUTHERFORD

Midlands

Goal Keeper

33

66

16

Liz THOMPSON

Auckland

Defender

19

32

6

Petrea WEBSTER

North Harbour

Striker / Midfielder

26

68

1

Kayla WHITELOCK

Central

Midfielder

28

219

Quick Facts

o   The team departs Auckland Airport on 9 July at 5.30pm (EK407)

o   The Four Nations Tournament is in Dublin and New Zealand will play Ireland (12 July), Chile (13 July), Canada (15 July) with the final games on 16 July. Times of the games are TBC.

o   The New Zealand Women’s hockey team has a strong record at the Commonwealth Games. Results include:

o   Bronze, 1998 Kuala Lumpur

o   Fourth, 2002 Manchester

o   Fourth, 2006, Melbourne

o   Silver, 2010, Delhi

o   Gemma Flynn, Krystal Forgesson, Katie Glynn, Stacey Michelsen, Emily Naylor, Anita Punt and Kayla Whitelock were in the team at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

o   The average age of the team named for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games is 24

o   The youngest player in the team is Liz Thompson (aged 19, Auckland)

o   Emily Naylor has played the most games for New Zealand (246) and is likely to reach 250 during the Commonwealth Games.

o   Sam Charlton is likely to play her 100th test in the final game of the tournament. Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry and Rhiannon Dennison are likely to play their 50th test. - The New Zealand Women have won the last three games they have played against India, South Africa and Canada.

o   The New Zealand Women have never played against Trinidad and Tobago.

o   Women’s hockey became a Commonwealth Games sport in 1998

o   Australia has won three gold medals (1998, 2006, 2010), India has won one (2002)

About the Glasgow 2014 Uniform Athletes standing on the podium in Glasgow will be seen in traditional black with the silver fern featuring as part of New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games emblem.

Elements of the Glasgow mark are also incorporated throughout the uniform. Created at the request of athletes, the Glasgow mark was created to reflect New Zealand history, culture and character. It was designed to unify and inspire the team. On the medal ceremony jacket, the tui is represented, symbolising our proud nation, strength of character and fighting spirit. A stylised representation of the Southern Cross can be seen on a number of items as can the letters NZ. In addition, references to the St Andrews cross are included, representing our strong links to Scotland and acknowledging the host country of the Games.

The uniforms include ceremony wear, t-shirts, hoodies, shorts, bags and running shoes and have been designed by New Zealand Olympic Committee commercial partner Peak Sport.

Peak Sport is known for outfitting top US NBA players and has been a New Zealand Commonwealth and Olympic Games partner since 2010.

The formal uniform is made from merino wool and includes a traditional black blazer with the silver fern on the left breast pocket as part of New Zealand’s official Commonwealth Games emblem.

ABOUT MAKING US PROUD - THE MARK The Making Us Proud mark has been designed by prominent New Zealand artist Shane Hansen. Its unique elements reflect aspects of New Zealand culture, history and personality.

The mark was asked for by athletes following the success of the London 2012 mark – a rights-free device that could be used and shared freely by all athletes and their supporters.

They wanted to show New Zealand and the world where they were from and where they were going, and asked for a mark that would inspire them on this journey. The mark will appear on elements of the Glasgow team uniform, within the village design and has been used by athletes and sports in the build-up to Glasgow.

We are a proud nation, inspired by the silver fern; emblem of our sporting legacy. Unique and strong we are defined by our fighting spirit. We look to the Southern Cross, sign of our place in the Pacific. We unite as the people of Aotearoa and make our mark on the world. Together we strive for success. We are the New Zealand Team.