Archibald all fired up for club hockey
Off the back of an electrifying win over Australia, Black Sticks midfielder Ryan Archibald is back in Auckland and ready to take on the club scene.
An integral part of New Zealand’s 3-1 penalty shoot-out win in hockey’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final, Archibald stepped up to clinch the side’s third and final goal.
‘‘Obviously there’s quite a bit of pressure when it comes to those shootout situations,’’ the Westmere resident says.
‘‘You just want to do your job and make sure you score your goal ... I was just relieved really.’’
On the campaign to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a win over the world’s best side has been a great achievement for Archibald and his team-mates.
‘‘It’s great for our confidence going forward to know that we can not only compete but knock over the world No 1 team. It would be nice to make it more regular.’’
Coming off such an elating win, it could be understood that returning home might provide the chance for some well deserved rest.
However for Archibald this is simply a transition into a much-loved local competition, where he will step out for his Somerville club.
‘‘I’ve always enjoyed my club hockey,’’ he says.
‘‘My family has a very strong association with the Somerville club, I’m a third generation player there.
‘‘I always look forward to returning.’’
In recent years the Auckland hockey scene has seen a significant step up in competition.
Archibald says the current season is likely to see some hard-fought games.
‘‘There’s probably five or six teams that are all really competitive.
‘‘It’s not a matter of turning up and knowing you’re going to win.
‘‘If you don’t play well there’s a very real chance you won’t win.’’
Making his debut for New Zealand in 1997, hockey is something that has taken the 34-year-old all across the world.
A five-year stint playing professionally in Holland, two years with the Kalinga Lancers in the Hero Hockey India League and numerous Olympic Games appearances are a few of the rewards his hard work has produced.
Hockey is an amateur sport in New Zealand so balancing sport with his career has always been a challenge.
Being the business development and sales manager for Envirowaste, finding the sweet spot between both has been key to a successful hockey career.
‘‘It helps to have an understanding employer,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s always a challenge but I’ve always felt study and career have always been important.
‘‘I’ve treated those on equal footing and it’s just that maybe one year hockey is a higher priority.’’
Archibald is looking forward to some big changes to come in the club scene.
‘‘The Auckland competition is merging with the North Harbour competition this year.
‘‘It’s a new thing for hockey in the Auckland region and I hope that it’s going to be a really positive change.’’
Ryan Archibald in action against Belgium in the London 2012 Olympic Games.