28 Apr 2015

Eshuis forced to retire from hockey

9:20 am on 28 April 2015

The former international hockey player Clarissa Eshuis has been forced to retire from all levels of the game.

The powerful drag flicker was hoping to make a return to the Black Sticks and push for selection for next year's Rio Olympics, but a serious back injury has forced her out of high impact sport.

NZ hockey player Clarissa Eshuis.

NZ hockey player Clarissa Eshuis. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 28-year-old played 132 times for New Zealand from 2005 to 2006 and then 2008 to 2012.

She played at the 2012 Olympics, the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games as well as 4 Champions Trophies and a World Cup.

A recent medical examination showed that a disc bulge had worsened, explaining a lot of the pain that the Auckland player experienced during last year's Ford National Hockey League and the season's club games.

Eshuis says it's so disappointing, having hockey as part of your life for so long it becomes so hard to let go, but I don't have much choice.

Eshuis' talents were valued at both ends of the turf for the Black Sticks. She was one of the defensive rocks in the back field playing alongside captain Kayla Whitelock, and was also the team's designated drag flick expert, scoring 28 goals during her career.

Reflecting back on her international career Eshuis says there have been lots of highlights along the way, but the team environment during 2012 was something extra special.

"During that year, it just felt like we were all on the same page. We were committed, very focussed and had the same goal. It had been a dream of mine to get to the Olympics, and so for me the London Olympics stands out."

Although her hockey sticks will now be resting in the garage, she still has a strong tie to the sport. She is currently working alongside hockey legend Ramesh Patel at St Kentigern College in Pakuranga.

Her role as a Health and PE Teacher at the prestigious secondary school extends to coaching the women's First Eleven.

As one of the top school teams in Auckland, she hopes the side can further improve on their fourth place finish at last year's National Secondary School tournament.

Hager said it was a pleasure coaching Eshuis, who was a hard working player and key part of the squad.


Born: March 18, 1987 (age 28)

Position: Defender

Region: Midlands, Auckland (2014)

International tests: 132

International goals scored: 28

International career: 2005-2006, and then reselected 2008-2012

Major events: 2006 Champions Trophy, 2006 Commonwealth Games, 2010 Champions Trophy, 2010 World Cup, 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2011 Champions Trophy, 2012 Champions Trophy, 2012 London Olympics.

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