One of the greatest ever Black Sticks, Olivia Merry, is today calling time on her international career.

Spanning nearly 12 years after debuting in 2012 against India, Merry has gone on to earn 284 international caps scoring 128 goals in the process – the second and first all time, respectively, for New Zealand women. Merry also retires as the 5th all time leading goal scorer in women’s hockey.

It was obvious from her debut that Merry would go on to be a goal-scoring threat when she put 2 goals away in a 7-2 victory over India in Napier. She became feared in the circle and for the first four seasons of the FIH Pro League was the all time leading scorer. Her prowess ultimately led to a World Player of the Year Nomination in 2019.

In her career, Merry represented New Zealand at two Olympic Games, Rio and Tokyo, and was part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal winning side and 2014 bronze medal winning side. She also co-captained New Zealand at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2022 World Cup where she helped secure a 5th placed finish equalling the Black Sticks best ever result at a World Cup.

Reflecting on her career Merry summarises it as a journey of dedication, passion, and perseverance.

“From the early days of training with some of my idols, to competing at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, I’ve poured my heart and soul into the black shirt. As with any journey there are always challenges and setbacks, but also amazing wins and highs, which I believe has moulded me into the person I am today.

“I’m grateful for the support of my coaches, teammates, family, and fans who have been with me in this journey. A particular thank you to my personal sponsors who have supported me throughout my entire career.”

Co-captain Megan Hull is effusive in her praise of Merry saying, “to sum up Olivia in such few sentences is like trying to mark her in the 5 yard zone…impossible.

“She is the epitome of what it means to be a Black Stick, and anyone who has had the privilege of playing with her, against her, or meeting her is better for it. She has given everything to the shirt and inspired us all to be better everyday.

“All sports need great players and humans like Olivia and it’s been such an honour to share the turf with an absolute legend of our game. I know her family and friends could not be prouder and on behalf of the team I wish her all the very best for the exciting chapter that lies ahead.”

General Manager – High Performance Darren Smith, who coached Merry in 2022, echoed Hull’s sentiments, calling her a fierce competitor who gave her all to the team.

“Olivia has been an outstanding Black Stick, one who has worn the black jersey with distinction. She has led the team with her drive and actions on the pitch.

“A player who consistently scores goals at critical times, I have enjoyed watching her develop her career in and away from hockey. I know that she has exciting times ahead with business and family.”

Hockey New Zealand CEO Anthony Crummy also added that Merry has left a lasting impact on the sport, “Olivia Merry is a recognised name globally and nationally in hockey and her contributions have inspired the next generation of hockey players. She can be proud of the work she has done in the black shirt, and the work she has done to leave it in a better place for those to come.

“We’re excited for her future and there is no doubt she will bring the same energy and determination on the turf to her life outside of hockey.”

Looking to the future, Merry is excited about spending more time with her friends and family, giving back to her work, and hopefully reducing her golf handicap.

“I think for me it is all about enjoying life and taking things one day at a time. 

“As I retire, I will always carry with me the memories and lifelong friendships made. I am proud of the legacy I leave behind in the world of hockey – all I hope is that I left the black shirt in a better place.”

New Zealand

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