FIH: Hockey Legends Hang Up Their Sticks: Olivia Merry, Eva Drummond-De Goede, and Margot van Geffen Retire from International Hockey

In a poignant moment for women’s international hockey, three of the sport’s most celebrated athletes, Eva Drummond-De Goede from the Netherlands, Olivia Merry from New Zealand, and Margot van Geffen, also from the Netherlands, have called an end to their sterling international careers, leaving behind a legacy marked by incredible achievements, dedication, and an indelible impact on the sport.

Eva Drummond-De Goede: A Centrepiece of Dutch Dominance

Eva Drummond-De Goede’s retirement from international hockey marks the end of an era for Dutch hockey, where she has been a central figure in the Netherlands’ unprecedented international success over two decades. During her time in the national team, which began all the way back in 2006, the Netherlands women’s team have made 4 consecutive Olympic Games and World Cup finals, winning 3 gold medals at each event! 

In a career that redefined the word longevity, Eva won her first Olympic gold medal all the way back in Beijing 2008, and also played a crucial role 14 years later, as Netherlands won the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup in 2022! Her leadership, and skill as a midfielder were pivotal in Netherland’s dominance on the world stage and Eva was recognised as the best in the world, winning the FIH Player of the Year award twice in 2018 and 2019. 

Drummond-De Goede’s career is studded with memorable moments, from clutch performances in Olympic finals to her critical roles in European Championships and World Cups. Her ability to control the pace of the game and make critical plays in high-pressure situations was unmatched. Off the field, her leadership and commitment to promoting hockey, particularly among young women, have made her a beloved figure not just in her native Netherlands, but all over the world. 

Olivia Merry: New Zealand’s Goal-Scoring Powerhouse

Olivia Merry steps away from the field as the all-time leading goal scorer for the New Zealand women’s team with 128 goals coming from 284 appearances, which also makes her the second most capped player in the Black Sticks’ history. Merry’s exceptional career has been highlighted by her remarkable scoring ability, making her a formidable forward in international hockey. Her speed, precision, and knack for finding the back of the net helped her team to numerous victories and significantly raised the profile of New Zealand hockey on the world stage. 

Merry’s journey through hockey has included standout performances in multiple World Cups and Olympic Games, where her scoring prowess often kept fans on the edges of their seats. She was also instrumental in one of New Zealand’s greatest achievements as they won their first ever gold medal in hockey as a nation at the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Her dedication to the sport and her team was unwavering, earning her the admiration and respect of teammates and rivals alike. 

She calls time on her stellar career as the 5th all-time leading goalscorer in women’s international hockey and still holds the joint-record for the most goals scored in a single season of the FIH Hockey Pro League, where she set the stage alight in the opening season with 15 goals!

Margot van Geffen: The Heart of the Dutch Defence

Margot van Geffen retires as one of the most dependable and fierce defenders in the history of Dutch hockey. If the phrase “Attack wins you games, Defence wins you titles” could be embodied by any single player, it would be Margot van Geffen, whose constant presence in defence has been the rock for Netherlands’ incredibly successful era where she was a part of the many title winning teams, including Olympic gold at the London (2012) and Tokyo (2020) Games, Olympic silver in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and three FIH Hockey World Cup titles in 2014, 2018 and 2022! 

Van Geffen is known for her outstanding positional awareness, tough tackling, and incredible consistency. Her contributions are difficult to categorise statistically, but it comes as no surprise that the most successful period in Dutch national team’s history coincided with Van Geffen’s presence in their defensive set-up.

Known for her resilience and tactical intelligence, van Geffen was the backbone of the Dutch defence, stopping many of the world’s best attackers in their tracks and launching devastating counter-attacks that became a Dutch hockey staple, feared by all opponents. Her commitment to the game and her ability to inspire her teammates have been significant factors in the Netherlands’ sustained success, and will certainly be missed by the team as they step into a new era. 

End of an Era

The international retirements of Merry, Drummond-De Goede, and van Geffen signify not just the end of their playing careers but also a transitional moment for their national teams and for international hockey. As they hang up their sticks – for international hockey -, they leave behind legacies that will undoubtedly influence generations to come.

The impact of these three athletes transcends their list of medals and accolades; it lies in how they elevated the game of hockey and inspired countless young players worldwide. Their commitment to excellence, sportsmanship, and the growth of the sport sets them apart as true legends of the game.

FIH President Tayyab Ikram, congratulating the modern legends on their storied careers, said: “Dear Eva, Olivia and Margot, thank you so much for everything you’ve brought to our sport over all these years! Your incredible talent and outstanding personalities have meant the best promotion for hockey. I wish you all the very best!

The global hockey family still wants you to be engaged and involved in hockey, in whichever role.

Athletes are our primary focus and it’s a commitment from my side that FIH takes the utmost care of our athletes’ welfare and well-being. I very much hope that these great athletes will remain within our sport for a long, long time and share their experiences and guidance for the benefit of the hockey community.”

As we bid farewell to these icons, FIH celebrates their careers and thanks them for their extraordinary contributions to the sport. Their stories will continue to inspire and resonate within the hockey community for many years to come.


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