Top Irish coach Graham Shaw appointed new coach of beleaguered Black Sticks women

The Black Sticks women have found their replacement for departed coach Mark Hager with Hockey New Zealand announcing Ireland mentor Graham Shaw is taking over.

New Black Sticks Women's coach Graham Shaw. Source: Hockey NZ

Shaw heads to the New Zealand side after taking the Irish women from 16th in world to their current ranking of eighth, thanks largely due to their stunning run at last year's World Cup where they reached the final.

"It is an absolute honour to be named as head coach of the New Zealand women, a team I have admired and respected for many years," the former 151-cap player said in a written statement.

He is not available for interview. 

This morning's appointment comes after Hager resigned from the role in January while an independent review into the team's environment was taking place.

Read more: 'We're sorry' - Hockey NZ apologises to women's Black Sticks after review into negative team culture

The review found 24 of the 33 interviewed players had concerns about a "negative environment". Hager has since joined Great Britain as their coach following his departure.

Read more: 'There is nothing to cover up' - Hockey NZ defends refusal to release entire report into Black Sticks women culture under Hager

Hockey NZ board member Shane Collins said he hopes everyone can move forward now with Shaw in charge.

"The past few months have been a challenging period for the Black Sticks women. We wanted to find the best coach to build on the success of the programme towards our ultimate goal of medalling at the Tokyo Olympic Games," Collins said.

Shaw's first match at the helm will be against the US in June. Assistant coach Sean Dancer will act as interim coach until Shaw joins the team in May.