Black Sticks vice captain retires
26 Apr 2006 10:34
Black Sticks vice captain Darren Smith announced his retirement from international hockey today.
Smith retires as the third highest capped Black Sticks Men’s player ever with 212 internationals, behind Simon Towns (217 games) and Umesh Parag (214).
Smith made his debut as a 21-year-old against Spain at the 1995 Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia.
Under coaches Keith Gorringe, Robin Wilson and now Kevin Towns, he played almost all his hockey at inside-forward.
Smith battled several injuries in 2005 and is reluctant to put his body through what would be required for the centralisation in mid-may and the World Cup in September.
“My biggest reason for retiring is that I didn’t think I would enjoy centralisation again, and secondly I am starting to make inroads on my career as Tiger Turf Product Manager for hockey, and as a coach.”
Smith is Hockey New Zealand’s Northern Regional High Performance Coach and keen to continue developing his coaching career.
He rates the 7-1 win over Pakistan at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, playing at the Athens Olympics and the just-completed and highly successful qualifying tournament as the highlights of his playing career.
National Coach Kevin Towns, paid tribute to the role Smith has played but admitted that "There comes a time when the old body takes a bit longer to repair"