29 Nov 2016

Phil Burrows hangs up his stick after 343 tests

12:51 pm on 29 November 2016

New Zealand's most capped men's hockey player of all time, Phil Burrows, has announced his retirement from international hockey.

Burrows made his debut in 2000 and has played a whopping 343 tests in a career which saw him compete at three Olympic Games, four Commonwealth Games, and four World Cups.

New Zealand's most-capped men's hockey player Phil Burrows

New Zealand's most-capped men's hockey player Phil Burrows Photo: Photosport

He remains one of only three players who have ever eclipsed the 300 test mark for New Zealand, leading fellow retired legends Ryan Archibald (327) and Dean Couzins (318).

The 36-year-old is also the Black Sticks' most prolific goal scorer of all time, having found the back of the net 150 times from either the striker or midfielder positions.

Burrows has been relishing a different role for the Black Sticks as an assistant coach at the International Festival of Hockey in Melbourne and decided the time was right to retire.

"I wasn't really even thinking about it to be honest but I saw a few other guys retiring and thought it was a good time to do it, especially being in Melbourne with the guys," he said.

"I'm pretty upset to let the international game go but am really liking the fact that I'm still involved in the game of hockey. I think I would've been a lot more upset if I'd had to give everything away.

"I was lucky enough to travel all around the world playing the game I love and the main thing is the friends I've gained all over the world."

Burrows is currently living in Melbourne where he still plays club hockey and is becoming increasingly involved in coaching.

Having played in so many major tournaments for New Zealand in a career spanning 16 years, he said he'd created plenty of special moments but perhaps none more so than forging friendships.

"People always say 'what are your best moments' and I've had plenty. But some of the best moments for me haven't even been on the pitch - they've just been spending time with the guys.

"Game wise though, at the 2002 Commonwealth Games I had a pretty good semi and scored four against Pakistan so that's a massive highlight and always will be.

"Also the 2004 Olympic Games as a team we performed above expectations. And personally I had a good tournament and managed to take out top field goal scorer, so I was pretty happy with that, and it's something I'll remember forever.

Black Sticks veteran Phil Burrows.

Phil Burrows in action for the Black Sticks. Photo: Photosport