Stacked Central teams prepare for National Hockey League

Retired Black Sticks captain Kayla Whitelock will play for Central in the National Hockey League this year.
John Cowpland / www.photosport.n

Retired Black Sticks captain Kayla Whitelock will play for Central in the National Hockey League this year.

The Central men's and women's rep hockey teams have had a healthy boost of talent this year.

Central named their squads ahead of the National Hockey League in Wellington in September and the Mysticks​ women and Mavericks men both have a handful of past and present New Zealand players, and there is only one draft player across both teams.

Last year the Mysticks had only five Central-based players, 10 guest players and at one point there was talk they may not enter a team.

A year later they are looking much better, with all of the team either from Central, or players of origin who are based in other regions.

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This year they have fringe Black Sticks Georgia Barnett, Pippa Norman and Michaela Curtis, now-retired Black Sticks veterans Emily Gaddum and Kayla Whitelock and former Black Stick Sheree Horvath.

Gaddum and Whitelock didn't play last year.

There is also former New Zealand age-group players Casey-Mae Waddell and Tegan Muraahi, while Verity Sharland is a former national development squad member and no stranger to the Central team, as well as a handful of Central age-group players.

Hannah Williamson from North Harbour was the only guest player Central brought in.

Henry Wong from North Harbour will coach the women this year with Corey Prouting as his assistant.

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The men also have three New Zealand players in the ranks to give them some real attacking options.

Veteran Black Sticks striker Nick Wilson, who has taken a break from international hockey since last year's Olympics, is playing, as are young Black Sticks Hayden Phillips and Mac Wilcox, who are both based in Auckland now.

Wanganui's Marty Atkinson, now playing in North Harbour, has played seven tests for the Black Sticks in the past year.

The Mavericks also have a group of Central and New Zealand age-group players, with a couple based in Auckland.

There are no guest players in the squad, but Taranaki's Aaron Edmunds, who used to play in Manawatu but is now playing in Melbourne, has been brought back for the tournament.

Manawatu's Tony Brougham will coach the Mavericks and Jesse Workman is his assistant.

The women have a pre-season training match against Capital in Carterton on Sunday and the men will play Capital in Kapiti on September 2.

Both teams head to Taupo on september 10 for matches against Midlands and Capital, ahead of the NHL starting on September 16.

The competition format has changed this year. It will be run over nine days, with the men's and women's competition split into pools, then there is quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

■ Central has had 13 players selected in the New Zealand under-18 boys and girls teams for a national development camp in New Plymouth in December.

The team was picked after the national under-18 tournament, where the Central girls won for the first time and the boys lost the final.

In the girls team from Central is Kaitlin Cotter (Hawke's Bay), Anna Crowley (Taranaki), Emma Rainey (Wanganui), Hope Ralph (Taranaki), Olivia Shannon (Hawke's Bay/Rangitikei) and Arabella Shield (Hawke's Bay).

Horowhenua's Kelly Carline has been selected in a goalkeepers squad to attend a specialist camp in Hawke's Bay in October and four keepers from that camp will go to the development camp in December.

Cotter was also chosen in a similar drag flickers squad.

In the boys team is Jordan Cohen (Wanganui), Cameron Gladding (Hawke's Bay), Ryan Gray (Wanganui), Harry Lawson (Hawke's Bay) and Matt Peel (Manawatu).

Manawatu's Tom Tremain has been chosen for the goalkeepers camp and Lawson has been picked in the drag flickers squad.

Central Mysticks: Georgia Barnett (Manawatu), Tinesha Carey (Hawke's Bay/North Harbour), Michaela Curtis (Horowhenua), Emily Gaddum (Manawatu), Sheree Horvath (Manawatu), Kelsey Macdonald (Hawke's Bay/North Harbour), Clodagh McCullough (North Harbour/Manawatu), Tegan Muraahi (Horowhenua), Beth Norman (Rangitikei), Pippa Norman (Rangitikei), Holly Pearson (Taranaki), Megan Phillips (Horowhenua), Emma Rainey (Wanganui), Hope Ralph (Taranaki), Verity Sharland (Manawatu), Casey-Mae Waddell (Horowhenua), Kayla Whitelock (Manawatu), Hannah Williamson (North Harbour).Non-travelling reserve: Anna Crowley (Taranaki).

Central Mavericks: Brennan Alexander-Parker (Hawke's Bay/Auckland), Marty Atkinson (Wanganui/North Harbour), Matthew Brougham (Manawatu), Edmund Cousins (Manawatu), Mitchell Cronin (Manawatu), Samuel Davies (Horowhenua/Wellington), Aaron Edmunds (Taranaki/Melbourne), Angus Griffin (Manawatu), Joe Hanks (Hawke's Bay/Auckland), Sam Hiha (Hawke's Bay/Auckland), Hayden Phillips (Horowhenua/North Harbour), Ben Smith (Manawatu), Dion Spackman (Manawatu), Oscar Stewart (Hawke's Bay), Dylan Thomas (Hawke's Bay), Mac Wilcox (Poverty Bay/Auckland), Nick Wilson (Manawatu/North Harbour), Matt Young (Otago/Manawatu). Non-travelling reserve: Brendan Payne (Horowhenua).

 - Stuff

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