New Zealand men’s hockey team win Gold in Montreal 1976

The New Zealanders, coached by Ross Gillespie, caused a stir at Montreal by beating Australia 1-0 to win the gold medal.

It was not a triumph easily achieved – they won a thrilling play-off match against Spain 1-0 just to squeeze into the semi-finals. There they caused an upset by beating the impressive Netherlands side 2-1 in the third period of extra time. The final, a torrid affair, tipped New Zealand’s way when their captain, Ineson, smashed home a penalty corner shortly after halftime. “I felt we had a chance before the tournament,” said Maister. “We had a lot of experience in the side, we were well-drilled and very fit. And the fact that the tournament was being played on Astroturf for the first time was an advantage to us. It was a relatively foreign surface for everyone, a leveller.

“Those of us from Christchurch were used to practising on the lightning-fast indoor concrete at Canterbury Court. It was a really hard surface and our bodies took a pounding, but in a way it prepared us for the artificial surface at Montreal.”

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