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Pontifex retires from international hockey

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/09/2016

Kyle Pontifex is vacating the New Zealand men's hockey goal after a 15-year career.

Rated one of the Black Sticks' greatest goalkeepers, 36-year-old Pontifex said it is time to focus on his career and family.

Despite missing selection for the Rio Olympics, Pontifex says he has no regrets at making a comeback in 2015 following a three-year hiatus in the wake of his third Olympic campaign in London.

The Wellingtonian made his debut against Malaysia in 2001 and racked up 176 Tests.

He also competed at two World Cups and two Commonwealth Games but says his career highlight was the 2011 Champions Trophy because it was hosted by New Zealand.

Pontifex says hockey is a different game for a goalkeeper than 15 years ago, mainly because of the improvement of equipment.

"The speed the ball travels now is incredible compared to back then and as a goalkeeper you need to be really onto it from penalty corners with players who have made an art of flicking at high speeds."

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