Mitchell Ottow suffered a serious neck injury in 2014 which prevented him from touring Australia in early summer 2015 with the New Zealand Under-19 hockey team.
It was a bitter blow for Ottow who had been knocking on the door of national selection for several seasons.
Injury has strengthened his resolve. Last year he captained Westlake Boys’ High School to the Rankin Cup title (celebrations below), trialled for the New Zealand Under-21′s and regained his place in the 19′s.
“I am really looking forward to the Aussie trip. Playing other countries and the best in your age group is a really exciting challenge,” he says.
In December a training camp was held in Auckland where 36 players were selected to tour. They will be divided into two teams, White and Black. Ottow enjoyed interacting with the other players.
“Seven of the players are from North Harbour so I know them really well and compete with or against them regularly. I have come across many of the others before, but I haven’t really talked to them because they are the opposition. It was nice to talk to them and realise they are nice guys,” he admits.
Ottow concedes New Zealand knows little about their opposition, but will be filming games on tour to build knowledge. Managing the summer heat will be a big factor.
“I have been working hard on my fitness, but nothing can really prepare you for the extreme heat on the Gold Coast. We will have to manage our fluids and subs really well,” he says.
New Zealand hockey Campaign Manager Hemant Lala said:
“The challenge for these young players will be to see if they are able to implement their new learning’s in an international competition environment.”
Ottow identifies Rankin Cup winning teammates Benji Edwards and JP Rossouw as players to keep an eye on while Sam Hiha a striker from Napier BHS has also impressed.
“Sam is really good. He is controlled on the ball and every time he gets it you sense something positive will happen,” Ottow says.
It’s a positive time for hockey at present. Later in 2016 both the men’s and women’s senior teams will compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
PLAYER NAME - REGION - POSITION
Zane Anderson - Midlands - Striker
Reuben Andrews - Midlands - Defender
Mark Bell-Kake - Auckland - Striker
Wade Bennett - Midlands - Goalkeeper
Jonathon Bloor - Midlands - Striker
Malachi Buschl - Southern - Defender
Te Hiraka Chase - Midlands - Defender
Sean Crook - Central - Goalkeeper
Lawrence Darling - Canterbury - Defender
Garrick du Tiot - Midlands - Midfielder
Benji Edwards - North Harbour - Defender
Hamish Findlay - Canterbury - Midfielder
Brandon Ford - Northland - Striker
Kurt Ford - Northland - Striker
Jesse Forsyth - Canterbury - Striker
Travis Good - North Harbour - Striker
Connor Greentree - North Harbour - Defender
Angus Griffin - Central - Goalkeeper
Xavier Guy - Auckland - Defender
Xavier Hey - Central - Defender
Sam Hiha - Central - Striker
Moss Jackson - Canterbury - Striker
Kalyan Jeram - Auckland - Striker
Timothy Kerr - Capital - Midfielder
Ethan Martin - Midlands - Defender
Hamish McGeorge - Midlands - Striker
Paraone Muru - Midlands - Defender
Mitchell Ottow - North Harbour - Midfielder
Max Rasmussen - Auckland - Midfielder
JP Rossouw - North Harbour - Midfielder
Dion Spackman - Central - Defender
Ross Stembridge - Central - Midfielder
Dylan Stevenson - North Harbour - Defender
Jordan Ward - Southern - Defender
Henry Will - North Harbour - Striker
William Zhou - Capital - Goalkeeper
Sunday 10th January – NZ Black vs NZ White
Monday 11th January – NZ Black vs Japan/NZ White vs Australia
Tuesday 12th January - NZ White vs Japan/NZ Black vs Australia
Thursday 14th January - NZ Black vs Japan/NZ White vs Australia
Friday 15th January - NZ Black vs NZ White
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