Fans select legends of the game for MVP trophies

One of our most capped women’s players and a father and son duo have been chosen by New Zealand hockey fans to be the names on the Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophies for the new Premier Hockey League. 

Following a fan vote in August, it was decided that the men’s MVP trophy will be named after father and son Jeff and Ryan Archibald and that the women’s MVP trophy will be named after former Black Sticks Captain Suzie Muirhead. 

Ryan and Jeff Archibald said they were humbled to have the Archibald name on the MVP trophy. 

“We are hopeful the Premier Hockey League will have a positive impact on preparing our current and future Black Sticks for international hockey in what has been a challenging year.”

Jeff Archibald was a vital member of the 1976 gold medal-winning team and played for the New Zealand team from 1970 through to 1986, amassing 101 caps for his country.

Jeff was selected for four Olympics, and he captained the side from 1984-86. Since his retirement, Jeff has been involved in both coaching and umpiring, and in 1989 was made a Member of the British Empire for services to hockey.

Ryan Archibald followed in his father’s footsteps and played for New Zealand from 1997 through to 2016, accumulating 327 caps before retiring after the 2016 Olympics. Ryan represented New Zealand at three Olympics and only missed a fourth due to injury in 2004. 

Ryan was known as one of the top midfield players in world hockey, and his attacking play was sensational in setting up his strikers. He also knocked in 51 goals for the Black Sticks, and won silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

1976 Gold Medal Olympic Team

Muirhead was ecstatic that her name would be associated with the new league.

“I am honoured to think that a country kid with humble beginnings like me might inspire the next generation. The Premier Hockey League is an exciting new competition that will become pivotal in developing depth in New Zealand.”

Muirhead had a long career with the Black Sticks Women playing 238 matches from 1993 through to her retirement in 2006. Muirhead captained the team with distinction from 2004-2006. 

Not only did Muirhead play the role of a setup player, but she would also find the back of the net on 41 occasions for the Black Sticks. She played at two Olympics in 2000 and 2004 and won bronze at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Muirhead was part of the Black Sticks team that in 2005 won the gold medal at the Champions Challenge. 

Muirhead was named New Zealand Hockey player of the year in both 2002 and the year she retired in 2006. She continued her involvement with the sport in the Wellington region following her retirement from international hockey.

Suzie Muirhead in action against Australia in 2005 (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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