The Black Sticks Women’s squad has been announced for 2023, seeing the inclusion of two members of the 2022 Development Squad into the National side, as well as two returning Black Sticks. Three existing National Squad members, completing the changes, move down into the Development Squad.
The four new squad members are Natasha Fitzsimons (North Harbour) and Cathryn Finlayson (Midlands), both ex-Development Squad players, along with Laura Douglas and Piki Hamahona. Laura, a returning Black Stick midfielder and yet another player originating from the highly successful Northland region, will be making a comeback after being out of international competition since May 2007. Similarly, Piki Hamahona, who returns after last playing in a Three-Nations Tournament in Japan in September 2003, brings some fresh yet experienced skills into the side with 25 caps as a striker.
Talent moving into the Development Squad from the National Squad includes Sophie Devine, Alana Millington and Liz Perry. These players will help inject some critical international experience to the rest of the Development Squad, especially to assist the new inclusions Nicola Howes (North Harbour), Amelia Gibson (Canterbury) and Samantha Charlton (Midlands).
Coach Mark Hager says “I’m excited about this newly selected squad and am looking forward to the challenges ahead for 2023. Douglas and Hamahona will bring an air of maturity to a youthful and inexperienced group. Finlayson and Fitzsimons gain selection on the back of solid performances at both NHL and Junior World Cup tournaments.”
Confirmed fixtures, for the 2023 Black Sticks Women’s programme, are the World Cup in Argentina in September as well as the Commonwealth Games in India in October.
Source: Hockey New Zealand