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AKH and Black Sticks legends Marcus Child and Arun Panchia announce retirements from International Hockey

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Longtime Black Sticks, Auckland and Southern Districts teammates Marcus Child and Arun Panchia have announced their retirements from International Hockey. Marcus and Arun have been club, NHL and Black Stick stalwarts with over 450 international caps between them, with many memorable performances including the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning. 

Upon hearing the news, Dean Couzins (Former Black Stick, AKH and current SDHC team mate) said “Arun and Marcus are friends that I have a long history playing with for Southern, Auckland, and the Black Sticks. You enhance the teams that you play for and will be missed in the black jersey”. 

Vantage Black Sticks Coach Darren Smith said Child was another fantastic player to come out of Auckland’s Southern Hockey Club. “Marcus is fast, athletic, has quick skills and a tactical appreciation for the game. He was a key contributor to the Gold Coast silver medal-winning team.”

“Marcus is a man that contributes not only on the field but also how he operates off the pitch where he always was a protector of the group. We often had conversations about not only hockey and how we can play even better but also our team dynamics, behaviours and to strive for enjoyment of our time playing for the Vantage Black Sticks”. 

AKH CEO Manoj Daji was Arun’s first NHL coach selecting him as a 17 year old while Arun was at Mt Albert Grammar School and then playing him in the NZ Indians team v India in early 2009 where he impressed and was soon after named in the Black Sticks. On hearing of Arun’s retirement he said “when I first saw Arun play he was a standout club player and I was a little shocked to hear he was a schoolboy still. In his first NHL season he ended up starting after 3 games and never looked back. I do remember though how well he played in the first 15 minutes of the friendly international against India in Wellington. There were 3 Indian players surrounding him on a couple of occasions and each time he calmly worked his way out of trouble. He was so good that day that we moved him to centre midfield the next day! 

Daji said “the thing that has impressed me most though is his off field persona, always friendly, respectful and humble, a great team man and a leader on the field by actions. Arun is a credit to himself, his family, his SDHC club and the Indian community, and leaves the International game as one of NZ’s best and most respected players in the last decade. I look forward to seeing Arun’s next chapter evolve and Auckland Hockey helping him to achieve any off field goals he pursues.”

Arun said “representing New Zealand has been a huge honour and is something I’ll value for the rest of my life. I’ve been fortunate to have had so many amazing experiences with the Black Sticks and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the years”.  I’ve been so fortunate to have had some amazing experiences which I’ll value for the rest of my life. The Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast was the standout as we played well, had a lot of supporters there, and coming away with a medal is always nice.”

AKH CEO Manoj Daji said “Marcus has been a standout performer for Southern, Auckland and the Vantage Black Sticks too. He has represented the jerseys of all three teams with pride, passion and integrity and has been a crucial member of our Auckland Rep teams over many years, including captaining the side to the final of the 2019 NHL. Both Marcus and Arun are generous with their time and humble about their achievements, highlighted when both gave up their time to spend some time at AKH sharing their Commonwealth Games medal, signing autographs and taking photos with young Auckland hockey fans upon their return from Gold Coast in 2018. True champions both on and off the turf”. 

“Marcus has represented his proud hockey family and stalwarts of club and rep hockey in Auckland, while carving out his own path and amassing a 172 international caps over a stellar international career. We look forward to seeing your continued growth off the field as you apply all of those wonderful leadership attributes to your career and future roles, we wish you all the best Marcus.” 

Marcus said “The highlights have been the people that I have met as well as being able to live out my dreams of playing at the Hockey World Cup in the Hague as well as winning a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “I am looking forward to moving into a new role at work and beginning a new chapter of my life”.

Congratulations to both Arun and Marcus on their outstanding international careers, we hope to still see them pull on the Blue and White of Auckland, and Black and Red of SDHC in 2021!




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