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Exciting youngsters named in Olympic hockey squads

Sean Findlay, a newcomer with just four caps, and his mentor Shea McAleese, heading to his fourth Olympics with 314 caps for his country, are the main features of the New Zealand men’s hockey squad named today for the Tokyo Olympics.

The women’s squad features three outstanding young players Olivia Shannon, Katie Doar and Hope Ralph alongside the experienced duo of captain Stacey Michelsen and vice-captain Samantha Charlton who are both heading to their third Olympics.

The squads of 16 feature five women (Ella Gunson, Michelsen, Charlton, Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry) and five men (Steve Edwards, McAleese, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis and Blair Tarrant) with more than 200 caps in black, while Edwards, Inglis, Nick Wilson and Jenness will also be attending their third Olympics.

New Zealand Men’s Head Coach Darren Smith said while it was an experienced team they were taking to Tokyo it was also the first major tournament for a number of players.

“It’s a pretty experienced group but it’s also the first pinnacle event for players like Sam Lane who have previously missed out through injury or Jacob Smith and Nick Ross who have been rewarded for their perseverance. They’ve shown they’re really determined to be there.”

Smith said it was an emotional phone call to the bolter of the squad Findlay, who is the current New Zealand Under-21 Player of the Year.

“Sean is a real go-getter and an incredibly versatile player. Shea has had a big influence over Sean’s career and it was a special moment when they got to play together in the recent series with Australia. Shea was equally as excited when I called him.”

New Zealand Women’s Head Coach Graham Shaw admitted it was one of the toughest teams to select with only four internationals in 15 months.

“With the lack of opportunities we’ve had it was a difficult squad to select. It’s certainly been very unusual circumstances but I think we’ve got a balanced squad that poses a massive threat on attack alongside a strong defensive unit.”

Shaw was excited by the potential of the young trio of Shannon, Doar and Ralph.

“We have some exciting young talent in our ranks especially Olivia (Shannon), Katie (Doar) and Hope (Ralph) who have stood up in recent years and all have huge futures in the black dress.”

New Zealand Women’s Captain Michelsen, currently the most capped New Zealand women’s player of all time with 291 matches, said the team was pleased to be finally heading to Tokyo after such a long wait.

“All the players are so thrilled to hear their names selected for Tokyo. It has been a long training period leading to this point, but now, with less than 50 days to go, you can feel the excitement amongst the group.”

New Zealand Men’s Captain Tarrant, off to his second Olympics, said the recent series against Australia had given the team a much-needed taste of international competition that the European sides had been enjoying recently.

“The Kookaburras put us under real pressure and we want more of that so we can get better and be playing as well as we can come Tokyo time.”

The Black Sticks squads head to Perth next Friday to play two doubleheaders against Australia on 26 and 27 June.

New Zealand Women’s squad for Tokyo

Name Association Caps (goals) Position
Samantha Charlton (vice-captain) Tauranga 255 (8) Midfielder
Tarryn Davey Thames Valley 66 (1) Defender
Frances Davies Tauranga 81 Defender
Stephanie Dickins North Harbour 27 (2) Defender
Katie Doar Auckland 19 Midfielder
Ella Gunson Northland 224 (11) Defender
Megan Hull Wairarapa 35 (1) Defender
Rose Keddell Tauranga 211 (16) Midfielder
Julia King Auckland 126 (9) Midfielder
Olivia Merry Canterbury 236 (113) Striker
Stacey Michelsen (captain) Northland 291 (34) Midfielder
Grace O’Hanlon Auckland 63 Goalkeeper
Hope Ralph Taranaki 11 (2) Striker
Olivia Shannon Manawatu 29 (4) Striker
Kelsey Smith Nelson 99 (14) Midfielder
Elizabeth Thompson Auckland 191 (12) Defender

New Zealand Men’s squad for Tokyo

Name Association Caps (goals) Position
Steve Edwards North Harbour 224 (23) Midfielder
Sean Findlay Hawke’s Bay 4 (1) Midfielder
Leon Hayward Auckland 10 Goalkeeper
Hugo Inglis (vice-captain) Otago 235 (66) Midfielder
Stephen Jenness Wellington 252 (91) Striker
Sam Lane Canterbury 68 (20) Striker
Dane Lett Wellington 81 (2) Defender
Shea McAleese Hawke’s Bay 314 (34) Defender
Jared Panchia Auckland 137 (26) Midfielder
Nick Ross Otago 131 (4) Midfielder
Kane Russell Otago 165 (71) Defender
Jacob Smith Wellington 89 (12) Striker
Blair Tarrant (captain) Otago 215 (4) Defender
Dylan Thomas Hawke’s Bay 30 (2) Midfielder
Nick Wilson Manawatu 174 (76) Striker
Nic Woods Waikato 131 (21) Defender
  • June 10th, 2021 in
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