Stacey Michelsen, New Zealand’s captain and one of the world’s finest midfielders, has called time on her illustrious international career, announcing her retirement to the fellow Vantage Black Sticks team members on Tuesday (19 October).
In career spanning 12 years and 296 caps, Michelsen will go down as one of the Black Sticks’ all time greats. A credit to her longevity, she competed at three Olympic Games; and three Commonwealth games where she earned bronze, silver, and gold medals. In addition to those accolades, she was also the 2011 International Hockey Federation (FIH) women's Young Player of the Year – the first Black Sticks player to win an FIH award.
“Playing for the Black Sticks has always been an absolute privilege, and something I will always treasure”, said Michelsen, reflecting on the importance of representing her country. “Hockey has given me some incredible opportunities and experiences leaving me with so many good memories and even greater friends.
“I have had so much support throughout every stage of my hockey career, and I am grateful for every single person who has been a part of this journey.”
Current Blacks Sticks Women’s Coach Graham Shaw, who has coached Michelsen since 2018, paid tribute to the long-time captain, “I would like to congratulate Stacey on a fantastic hockey career. Stacey has been one of most dominant players in the international game for a decade and that is a credit to the talent she possesses, the work ethic she applies every day, and a desire to learn and continuously improve her game.
“Stacey is without doubt the most influential player I have had the pleasure to work with and she will be missed dearly by all her teammates and management. It will be strange not having Stacey in the VBS [Vantage Black Sticks] set-up on a week-to-week basis.”
Hockey New Zealand CEO Anthony Crummy added “Stacey has been an incredible ambassador for hockey and our country. On behalf of HNZ and the VBS women’s team, we would like to thank Stacey for her commitment and dedication to hockey in NZ over an outstanding career and I’m sure she will continue to have an impact on the wider hockey whānau. We wish her all the best for the future and the next chapter.”
Alongside an incredible international career, Michelsen has been a key figure in Northland hockey proving to be a leader and inspiration to many young hockey players. She was also awarded the 2018 and 2019 HNZ Player of the Year.
Michelsen is looking forward to being able to spend more time with friends and family with plans to get married next year after having to delay her wedding.
“I am also extremely lucky to have a job that I love, with a law firm that has been incredibly supportive of me while I have been balancing work and hockey over the past few years. I am so grateful for this and am looking forward to being able to put more time and energy into my job.”
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) would like to congratulate Stacey on an incredible international career in which she has lit up the world stage. Her rare talent will be greatly missed, and we wish her every success in the next chapter of her life.