New Zealand’s Black Sticks men have lost more than 550 caps of international experience leading into next year’s rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
Arun Panchia, Marcus Child and Cory Bennett have announced their retirements from international hockey on Friday.
The trio was part of New Zealand’s silver medal side from the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and have 569 international caps between them.
Panchia, who retires as the fifth most capped Black Stick of all time, is a former captain who made his international debut back in 2009.
He was also part of the 2016 squad who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Stepping away from the international game due to increased responsibility with his employer, Panchia said it was a dream to have worn the black shirt.
“Representing New Zealand has been a huge honour and is something I’ll value for the rest of my life. I’ve been fortunate to have had so many amazing experiences with the Black Sticks and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years.
“The Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast was the standout as we played well, had a lot of supporters there, and coming away with a medal is always nice,” Panchia said.
Child, who retires with 172 caps for the Black Sticks, is also stepping away due to work commitments.
He has taken on a new role with his current employer.
“The highlights have been the people that I have met as well as being able to live out my dreams of playing at the Hockey World Cup in the Hague as well as winning a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Child said.
Bennett, who finishes his international career with 110 caps after debuting alongside Child in 2013, said the black shirt meant so much to him growing up and still does but the time is right to step away.
“I always felt that if I couldn’t put everything into the shirt, it is time to call it quits,” he said.
“Something I will always miss is the brotherhood you have within this special team. I have many great on-field memories – with the standout being a Silver medal at the Commonwealth Games.
“I have numerous off-field memories that I will cherish for years to come. Travelling the world with a bunch of mates all trying their best to make their country proud – what more could you ask for.
“I have given eight years of my life to, this team with the goal of leaving the shirt in a better place,” Child said.
Black Sticks head coach Darren Smith said the trio will be sorely missed.
“While the retirement of quality internationals is always felt by the group, what is fantastic is watching their lives and careers take shape. We have no doubt that successful lives after international hockey await.”