Friday, April 19, 2024

Captain Luke Hawker exits Welsh international hockey on a high

Welsh international and Men’s Senior Captain Luke Hawker has made the decision to retire from international hockey after more than a decade of international hockey,

Hawker made his debut for Wales 12 years ago against Poland after joining Cardiff Metropolitan University. He has since gone on to receive 126 international outdoor caps and 10 international indoor caps, firmly cementing his place as a key figure of the men’s game in Wales.

He has featured in a variety of historical appearances for Wales over the years with major tournaments including two Commonwealth Games, three European Championships and the 2023 Hockey World Cup.

Hawker said: “Leading the team onto the pitch, singing the anthem and playing in front of large crowds will live long in the memory. It was special for me to have my parents present at Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. That said, I am not sure I will find a substitute anywhere else in life for the deafening in-game roar of anticipation from the Indian crowd at Hockey World Cup.

“It is at this point in my life as a person, player and professional that I feel I am no longer able to commit fully to leading a nation, to leading a group of high-quality hockey players and men through the rigors of preparation for, and performance in international competition.”

Hawker highlighted Andy Gowman as being pivotal in “opening the door” at international level, Toby Nichols for his advice in the early stages of his career. “Zak Jones and Danny Newcombe taught me what it is to be a high-performing person in all aspects of life, and supported the technical and tactical knowledge and skill required to perform on the world stage,” he said.

“Throughout, playing club hockey at Cardiff & Met HC, Walid Abdo has been supportive, understanding and empathetic of the challenges associated with playing hockey all year round. I look forward to passing this knowledge on to others in future years. 

Happy environments: Luke Hawker and Danny Newcombe take a coaching session with Wales at the Hockey World Cup

Wales head coach Danny Newcombe said: “A professional athlete who has consistently delivered and impacted our performances, a fantastic competitor who thrives if difficult movements and a brilliant leader who has inspired us all to be better. It is impossible to quantify the extraordinary contribution Luke has had on the Senior Men’s group on and off the pitch. It is without doubt that he has left the shirt in a better place. “

Hawker will continue his domestic hockey career for Cardiff & Met in the Elite English National League. Alongside his playing career, Luke is a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University, a coach educator, assessor and a practicing coach at Cardiff & Met HC.

Total Hockey

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