New Coaching Trio for Vantage Black Sticks Women

Hockey New Zealand (HNZ) is delighted to announce the appointment of three new assistant coaches to the Vantage Black Sticks Women’s (VBSW) programme. Olympian Shea McAleese, former NZ U18s Head Coach Verity Sharland, and current HNZ Athlete Pathway Manager Bryce Collins, have all agreed to join Graham Shaw in the back room with a World Cup and Commonwealth Games on the horizon.

Recently retired Black Stick McAleese has been heavily involved with coaching throughout his playing career where he amassed 320 caps for New Zealand. On the opportunity to return to the national set up, McAleese said, “I’m very excited to return to international level, this time in a coaching capacity – having coached both overseas and here in NZ this is the logical next step on my journey.

“I look forward to working with Graham, as well as Bryce and Verity, to help take this talented team to the next level.”

Having forged a reputation as one of the country’s finest up-and-coming coaches, Sharland is well known in hockey circles. After coaching a number of the current VBSW players at age-group level she says “the opportunity to link up with a lot of these incredible athletes again is one that I couldn’t turn down.

“There is a strong emergence of talent within our women, coupled with grit and determination, and I’m motivated to be part of what I’m sure will be a dominant team moving forward.”

Meanwhile, Collins has been serving as the Athlete Pathway Manager for HNZ helping to identify and nurture talent throughout the country – he adds “this is such an exciting time for our programme. Not only do we have 2 major tournaments in the next 6 months but we have a young team, with a good mix of experience, that we can really develop and turn into world-beaters for years to come.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with these women over the last couple of years in my role as Athlete Pathway Manager and cannot wait to continue the relationship.”

Darren Smith, General Manager – High Performance, is thrilled by the caliber of coaching staff joining the VBSW team at such a pivotal time.

“You couldn’t ask for a more talented, dedicated, and hardworking trio to support Graham (Shaw). I am delighted that we have been able to recruit some of this country’s finest coaches for our VBSW programme.”


Shea McAleese

Shea represented New Zealand 320 times, playing at 4 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games, and 4 World Cups. He also has a wealth of experience playing and coaching both in NZ and overseas. Shea was head coach of the Braxgata Women’s team leading them to a Belgian National Championship in 2017 as well as winning the European Hockey Federation Division 2.

Closer to home Shea is currently the sporting director at Lindisfarne College while also leading and developing the high-performance vision for Hawke’s Bay Hockey. He works regularly in coaching development and with the Men and Women’s senior hockey sides.

Verity Sharland

Verity has a wealth of coaching experience, having been both the head coach and assistant coach for the NZ Under-18 Women’s side, assistant coach for the Under 21s, assistant coach for the Hockey5s (5-a-side) at the Youth Olympics, and was the assistant coach for the Central Falcons in the Premier Hockey League.

She has also been the head coach for the Central U18 Women who won 3 successive national championships from 2017-2019.

Bryce Collins

Bryce is currently the Athlete Pathway Manager for HNZ. He represented New Zealand 65 times. He has also been the assistant coach for the Vantage Black Stick Men, a role he held for the 7 years that included the Rio Olympics, 2 World Cups, 2 Commonwealth Games and the inaugural FIH Pro League.

Prior to this Bryce supported the Black Stick Women including being a member of staff that won the silver medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games. He has also led the NZ U21 Men’s programme and held various high performance and community roles at North Harbour Hockey.

  • January 31st, 2022 in
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