Black Sticks Men invited to play at Rio Olympics

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has received a formal invitation from the International Hockey Federation for the New Zealand Men's Hockey Team to participate at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The letter was received overnight and New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith has informed Hockey New Zealand that the invitation will be accepted, meaning both the men's and women's teams will have secured a place.

The Blacksticks Men's Team missed out on automatic qualification whilst playing at the FIH World League semi-final and Oceania Cup, however, were offered the invitation after the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's decision to reject invitations for South Africa's men's and women's teams.

Smith says it is great news for New Zealand hockey.

“To have both the men’s and women’s hockey teams in Rio is hugely exciting for New Zealand and we look forward to working with Hockey New Zealand as team progresses towards selection in 2016.”

Following a successful year of hockey for the New Zealand Women's Blacksticks squad, they will be heading to Rio alongside Australia, Korea, USA Great Britain, China, Germany, Argentina, Netherlands, India and Japan.

Last week they finished second at the World League Competition after losing to the Netherlands.