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Black Sticks women welcome back legends McCaw, Whitelock ahead of Tokyo 2020 tilt

The Black Sticks women have welcomed the return of two of New Zealand's all-time greats for the upcoming year, with both Kayla Whitelock and Gemma McCaw coming out of retirement.

Gemma McCaw and Kayla Whitelock Source: Photosport

As the New Zealand women build towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, both Whitelock and McCaw return to the national environment having last played at the 2016 games in Rio de Jainero.

McCaw and Whitelock have both welcomed children into the world in their time away from hockey, ending their international retirements with the Tokyo games just eight months away.

Coach Graham Shaw hailed the return of the experienced pair, building into what could be one of the most important 12 months in the history of New Zealand hockey.

"We feel the squad has a good mix of youth and experience as we start building towards the 2020 Tokyo games," Shaw said.

"We have been lucky to welcome back Kayla and Gemma after they stepped away to start families. We look forward to the invaluable experience that they will bring and the pivotal role they will play in helping our team towards our goal of medalling at the Olympic Games."

Elsewhere, the duo of Julia King and Rachel McCann make their returns, as the side boasts six players with over 200 Test caps.

Teenage duo Kaitlin Cotter (17) and Olivia Shannon (18) are also welcome sights in the squad, coach Shaw keeping one eye on the future.

Black Sticks women's 2020 national squad:

Georgia Barnett, Sam Charlton, Kaitlin Cotter, Tarryn Davey, Frances Davies, Steph Dickens, Katie Doar, Ella Gunson, Megan Hull, Alia Jaques, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Rachel McCann, Gemma McCaw, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Brooke Neal, Grace O'Hanlon, Holly Pearson, Brooke Roberts, Amy Robinson, Olivia Shannon, Kelsey Smith, Liz Thompson, Kayla Whitelock.