The national hockey team flies out to New Delhi, India today to compete in the second round of the World Hockey League.
National men’s coach Hector Smith said now the reality is coming nearer and mental toughness is something that should carry them through. Smith said they have a tough task ahead of them and they are grateful to all those that have made the trip possible for the team.
“When Radio NZ called me yesterday, I told them that for a team to come in as a wildcard entry and to beat New Zealand would mean that we have a big task on our hands,” he said.
“Mental toughness is what we will go with, the individual responsibility in the team, players’ personal responsibility not to be supervised and other small things that we do will make a difference.
” He added that in addition they would need to follow instructions given to re-hydrate regularly and eat on time, as they would play 70 minutes of fast-paced hockey.
“We don’t have the luxury to be in camp but we’re grateful to those that bought tickets, those that bought our $7 curry,those that contributed morally such as the parents and spouses who have missed a lot of family time.
“We thank the employers for their help because most of us had to work right up to the last day and knock-off at 5pm to prepare for our trip.
“But all this has made us tougher and stronger and we appreciate what everyone has done for us, the nightclubs and O’Reilly’s for their sponsorship, Samsung for allowing us to come through to the second round with their sponsorship and Government of course,” the former national hockey skipper said.