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Black Sticks Captain Steps Down from International

P R E S S R E L E A S E

Black Sticks Captain Suzie Muirhead Steps Down from International Hockey

Monday 8 May 2006

Black Sticks Captain Suzie Muirhead, (32), has retired, ending a career which has established her as one of the most respected Women’s hockey players ever to take the field for New Zealand.

With 238 matches behind her she is also New Zealand’s highest capped Women’s player.

Graham Child, Chairman of the Hockey New Zealand Board, said: “Suzie has been a consummate professional for New Zealand hockey. She never gave anything less than 100 percent on the field and has led by example with her steadfast commitment to 70 minutes of every game she has played.

“She is internationally respected as a world class midfield playmaker - her ball retention and distribution skills are well recognised. Added to that she is also one of the team’s best finishers in the goal circle,” he said.

“She will be sorely missed, but Hockey New Zealand accepts that the time has come when Suzie needs to put more time into other areas of her life including family and career.”

Muirhead has been New Zealand’s most influential midfielder for many years. She has played most of her hockey at inside left but was asked to take up the centre half role in 2003, by National Coach Ian Rutledge.

This transition has proved highly successful, although Muirhead occasionally returns to the inside forwards to boost the Black Stick’s attack. She is currently the Black Sticks’ top goal scorer on record with 41 goals (from records kept since the 1998 Commonwealth Games).

Muirhead debuted for New Zealand at the 1993 Inter-Continental Cup in Philadelphia. She has played at three Commonwealth Games, (98, 02, 06); two Olympics, (00, 04); two World Cups (98, 02); four Champions Trophies, (99, 00, 01, 02); two Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, (00, 04); two Champions Challenge Tournaments, (03, 05); and two World Cup Qualifying Tournaments (97, 06).

Muirhead played her early hockey in Whangarei where she grew up, but now lives in Wellington, where she is married and works as a Project Co-ordinator for NZ Post. Muirhead will return home to Wellington next week after a break in Europe.

ENDS

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