McCaw announces retirement from International Hockey
Following an illustrious career for the Vantage Black Sticks which started in 2008 when she made her debut at the age of 18, Gemma McCaw has decided to call time on her impressive career. McCaw went to three Olympic Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016) with the New Zealand side and played an integral role in helping the team to fourth-place finishes at the London and Rio games.
After the Rio games in 2016 McCaw took time away from the game, after giving birth in December 2018 McCaw made a stunning return to the turf at the 2019 Ford NHL where she would finish as the competitions leading goal scorer and earn herself a National Contract for the 2020 hockey season.
In her first game back in the Black Sticks singlet, McCaw made a grand return as she slotted an outstanding goal against the Belgium Women. Before the interruption in the 2020 FIH Hockey Pro League McCaw would go onto bring up her 250th match for the New Zealand Women in a drawn game with the Great Britain Women.
2009 was a standout season for McCaw as she became one of the few New Zealand players who have been nominated for the FIH Women’s Young Player of the Year Award. As part of a talented generation of players, McCaw earned a silver at Delhi (2010) and a Bronze at the Glasgow (2014) Commonwealth Games.
Blessed with incredible speed and athleticism, McCaw combined this with her outstanding 3D stick skills which made her one of the most lethal strikers in International Hockey and were the reason she scored a whopping 72 goals in her career.
Gemma McCaw commented on what it has meant to play for the Black Sticks Women over the years “It has been very special. To return to international hockey after having Charlotte was quite the journey, but I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to do that, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from my family.”
Rose Keddell played with Gemma for many years for both the Vantage Black Sticks and Midlands Women. She commented on playing alongside such a great friend “I am so grateful to have played alongside Gemma for a significant chunk of my career, both for New Zealand and the Midlands region. She has a fierce desire to compete and succeed and watching her return after having a baby and not just return to play but as one of the fittest in the group was something I will always admire. What sticks out to me about Gem though, outside of her talent as a hockey player and overall athlete, is her warm, friendly, energetic persona and her one of a kind sense of humour. She was a bright light within the Black Sticks environment, and I have no doubt she will shine in any environment she joins.”
McCaw has been apart of the Black Sticks program since she was 18 years old and commented on the things she will miss the most “I will miss the little things, getting through the hard training together, the laughs and fun off the field, and working together each week to make your team and country proud.”
In a career that has spanned twelve years in the National Program McCaw commented on one of her most memorable moments “Since coming back into the team, it was a real highlight to run out on the field and sing the national anthem alongside my teammates in front of my family and seeing my daughter in the crowd. I will cherish those moments forever.”
McCaw commented on what the future has in store for her following the announcement “I look forward to spending quality time with my family, keeping fit and healthy and focusing on my work in the health and wellbeing space. I will also enjoy watching my team play and can’t wait to cheer them on next year.”
Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Coach Graham Shaw was impressed with McCaw after the NHL in 2019 and was keen to bring her back into the National Team “Gemma came back into the squad in November after playing in the NHL. Gemma really impressed me with her hard-working attitude from the very start. She is not only a great player but a fantastic person that will be greatly missed in the black sticks program. I would like to wish Gemma and her family all the very best for the future.”
In her final performance for the Black Sticks, Women McCaw played the role of a facilitator in helping the Kiwis beat the World Number 2 Argentina 5-3 in front of her adopted hometown at Ngā Puna Wai in Christchurch.
- June 24th, 2020 in