Simon Child ‘The Black Stick’

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Who is Simon Child?

I would describe myself as a pretty typical Kiwi guy. I obviously love playing sport and enjoy the outdoors, something very unique to New Zealand.

Nickname?

I was nicknamed Sanga when I first made the team. I can’t remember why but it has stuck with me ever since

How did hockey start in your life?

I was 4 years old when I played my first game. My parents both represented NZ at various levels so I was around hockey at a very young age. I played in my older brothers team for my first 3 or 4 seasons which was a lot of fun although I was much younger and smaller than the rest of the team.

Can you describe yourself as a player?

I like to think of myself as a very attacking player, I enjoy having the ball on my stick and creating opportunities in attack. I have played my entire career for NZ as a striker and enjoy my leadership role in attack.

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How was your experience in the Dutch club Rotterdam?

I really loved my time in Rotterdam. I played almost 5 seasons which seems like a long time ago… But the people, the club, the city were amazing. I made some life long friends and have some great memories from that time including helping the team win its first national title in the 2012-2013 season.

How do you end up playing there?

I was about 18 years old when Phil Burrows and Ryan Archibald both national team players playing for Rotterdam at the time returned to NZ for a test series vs Korea in Christchurch. They brought with them a Rotterdam shirt with my name on the back and a letter from the club President inviting me to the club. Within a couple of months I was playing my first game in the Hoofdklasse.

What is the current situation of hockey in New Zealand?

The national team has had a pretty difficult 12 months. We were unable to secure a place in Rio until quite recently and were on the receiving end of some good fortune. On merit we deserve to be there but results did not go our way. But we are determined to make the most of it and are training very hard to make sure we give ourselves the best opportunity in August.

How is the National Team preparing the Games in Rio?

We are currently in Malaysia at the 25th Sultan Aslan Shah Cup. Last year we won the tournament so we are back to defend our title. We also have a trip to Europe planned in June where we will face the Netherlands in a 3 test series and then compete in a 6 Nations tournament in Valencia which will be great competition for us and provide us with some top quality matches prior to the games.

What brings the future inside and outside the field?

I’m currently really enjoying my leadership role with the national team so my focus is entirely on the team in the immediate future. I’m still 27 so time is on my side… Outside of hockey I recently started working at Colliers International as an investment sales broker in Auckland which I’m also really enjoying. Both are high performance environments that require quick thinking and good decision making skills.

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Hockey idols?

My first hockey idol was Ryan Archibald. He was 17 when he first played for NZ and I wanted to be just like him. I’ve been privileged enough to play over 200 games for NZ with him and share some great memories. The first international player I idolised was probably Teun de Nooijer. The way he played the game with great speed and skill was really incredible to see.

Funny story in the club or National team?

There are a lot of funny stories and some great memories from living in Rotterdam and traveling the world with the national team. One of the funniest nights was when we were celebrating a friends engagement in Antwerp. Unfortunately I can’t tell you any more.

Simon Child

 

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