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Wales Captain Luke Hawker announces International Retirement

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


Luke 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.


Reflecting on his decision to retire Luke was able to recollect the enormous quantity of fond memories he has accumulated over the years.


He stated that highlights included: “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.”


Luke reflects that: “It has been an absolute honour, not to just play, but to be selected by my peers to captain Wales. However, 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.”


There have been several standout figures who have assisted Luke throughout his international career to whom he is grateful to have received their support and guidance:


“Firstly, thank you to Andy Gowman who opened the door, believing I was capable of performing at an international level. Toby Nichols was instrumental in offering advice and support in the early stages of my playing and professional 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. 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. 


Most importantly, thank you to my parents who were incredibly supportive to me as a young player, the things they taught me continue to guide me today. In addition, I must thank my wider family and friends for their understanding in the moments that I sacrificed aspects of my personal life due to the commitment made to hockey.”



Commenting on Luke’s retirement, head coach Danny Newcombe said:


“First and foremost I would like to congratulate Luke on what has been an outstanding international hockey career. It has been a genuine pleasure working with Luke over the last 10 years and I will miss him greatly. 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. “



Luke 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.


All at Hockey Wales would like to thank Luke for his commitment to Hockey Wales and wish him the best of luck with the future.

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