Ex-Black Sticks player Katie Glynn has lept to the defence of her embattled former coach, Mark Hager.
After a defeat at the recent World Cup, Hager accidentally sent an email naming and shaming individual players for their performance and effort to the entire team.
Several national team players have since spoken out about the negative environment under the long-time women's coach, which has led to the commission of an independent review.
- Hockey NZ plan independent review into women's Black Sticks culture
- Volatile Black Sticks environment leads to Hager complaint
But Glynn, the third-highest goal-scorer in the team's history, says the indictments on Hager are far removed from her own personal experiences of life within the squad.
"My experience in the squad over a number of years was a positive one," Glynn told Newshub.
"I really enjoyed the environment. It's challenging but it's high performance sport, so it's designed to challenge you. But I would never have said that I was bullied or mistreated."
Glynn played all of her 134 tests under Hager's tutelage, before retiring in 2015 due to ongoing injury issues.
The 29-year-old said that while Hager was tough, his record speaks for itself.
"When he came into the role the team hadn't been doing well. We'd lost our funding and were 13th in the world. I think he knew he had to change the attitude towards it and get people working a bit harder and striving for better.
"He never made you feel like you were solid in the group. He wanted people to really earn their spot on the team.
"Competition in a squad like that is healthy and that's something they probably didn’t have before he came on board.
"He created an environment that people wanted to be part of and. They wanted to be on the team and they worked really hard to do it."
Last week, Hager issued an apology to team members, after which Hockey NZ CEO Ian Francis said no further action would be taken.
But further player complaints surrounding wider-ranging issues have prompted the national body to pursue an independent review.
The Black Sticks finished a disappointing 11th at the World Cup, three months after snaring gold at the Commonwealth Games.