Hockey: Ross' selection for NZ continues family tradition

Nick Ross
Nick Ross
The Otago production line has rolled out another New Zealand representative.

Nick Ross has been picked to make his Black Sticks debut at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia next month.

Ross (22), now playing for Midlands, continues a family tradition. Father Dave, a teacher at King's High School, was also a national representative, and sister Courtney is in the Junior Black Sticks wider squad.

The midfielder joins fellow Otago Boys' High School products Hugo Inglis, Blair Tarrant and Kane Russell in the national side.

Ross, who earns promotion from the national development squad, said he was excited about being named by coach Colin Batch in the Black Sticks.

''Colin told me after the last session at training camp that I'd made the side. It was a bit of a surprise but I was really happy when he told me.

''I've worked pretty hard all summer and it was a goal of mine to be selected for the Azlan Shah team. I can't wait to make my debut and start collecting some caps in what I hope will be a long career.

''I'd love to be able to go well at Azlan Shah and consolidate a spot, with my long-term goal to play at the Rio Olympics in 2016.''

Cory Bennett (North Harbour) has also been picked for a debut, while Isaac Staples (Canterbury) has been included in the side after an impressive showing at the recent national training camp.

Classy defender Dean Couzins will again captain the New Zealand side, which edged Argentina 1-0 to win last year's Azlan Shah final.

Veterans Phil Burrows, Shea McAleese, Nick Haig, Richard Petherick and Brad Shaw are being rested for New Zealand's first tournament of 2013. This also allows players to play for their European club sides.

Simon Child, Nick Wilson and Steven Edwards declared themselves unavailable for selection due to European club commitments with Rotterdam HC.

The Black Sticks open their Azlan Shah account against Pakistan on March 9. Australia, India, Korea and Malaysia are also taking part in the tournament.