Old Boy Hugo Inglis on bringing up his 200th game for the Black Sticks

By Otago Daily Times | Posted: Monday February 26, 2018

Time has flown by for Black Sticks forward Hugo Inglis but the southern man has no plans to slow down any time soon.

Inglis played his 200th game for the Black Sticks against India in Hamilton in January and then backed it up by turning out for the side in the team’s match against Japan the following night.

Inglis, who has just turned 27, got to bring up his 200th match in front of his parents and sister and said it was a special time even though the side lost 3-2 to India.

"It was a pretty awesome experience. I got to really value the game and the moment. Mum and Dad and my sister were there so that was pretty cool," Inglis said.

"To play 200 games is something special. When I was growing up in Dunedin and started playing I never thought I would play one, let alone something like 200, for the national team.

"Like any kid growing up, I wanted to play for my country. But then I got my picked in first year at university ... it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. I started international hockey and have loved it ever since. I still do. Just the environment we are in, all the different experiences.

"I don’t tend to remember the games as such. I remember more of the stuff that has happened off the field, all the good times you’ve had. I just go and play the game and don’t remember much about it afterwards."

Inglis though does remember his debut for the national side — playing against Wales in Invercargill in 2009 — although he cannot remember the score.

From there, the journey has been far and varied.

He has gone to two Commonwealth Games — and should go to a third later this year — and also attended the Olympics in London and Rio de Janeiro.

Although many would want to forget the Black Sticks at the Rio Games — losing in the very last second of the quarterfinal against Germany — Inglis said Rio was a highlight of his career.

"I had an injury [torn calf] leading into it but managed to get fit and ended up managing to have one of my best tournaments. There are other tournaments where we have won which have been great.

"The game has got quicker, there is no doubt about that. It was quick when I started.

"But rule changes have made it quicker and it’s only going to get quicker.

"That means you have to look after your body. Keep up your rehab, your conditioning and be wise with what you do."

Inglis is now a professional player, having played in leagues in the Netherlands and Belgium over the past four years. He is also about halfway through studying for a MBA through the Edinburgh Business School.

Initially he got a bachelor of business studies through Massey University and worked for a year at the Bank of New Zealand in institutional banking before his professional hockey career took over.

Looking back at how his career panned out, the striker paid tribute to Dunedin hockey coach Dave Ross.

"Under his leadership, the four of us [Inglis, Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell and Nick Ross] have all come through. I just remember all that hard work we did with him.

"I don’t think we could have done as well as we have without him. And I don’t think he gets enough acknowledgement for that."

The striker said he was eyeing a third Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 — so who knows how many games he will have played by then — and after that his body will tell him what is his future.