Great Britain forward David Clarke announced his retirement today and will bring down the curtain on a glittering international and domestic career at the end of the season.
Clarke has 92 caps for GB, fourth highest on the list in the modern era.
He scored 29 goals (sixth in the modern era), contributed 38 assists (joint-fourth) for 67 points (fifth in the modern era).
The 36-year-old has decided to call time on his playing career and depart the Motorpoint Arena having scored 718 points in 750 Elite League competition games so far, making him the EIHL’s record points scorer.
Clarke, who will have his number five jersey retired by the Nottingham Panthers, did not express an interest in remaining at the club and replacing Corey Neilson as head coach when he departs at the end of the campaign as well.
“My decision hasn’t come lightly. The mutual departure of Corey Neilson from the Panthers hasn’t had any bearing on my decision,” he told the club website.
“It has been on my mind for a number of weeks and there comes a time in any athlete’s career when you know to hang them up. I feel my time is now. I’ve had an amazing innings playing hockey and it’s time for the next challenge.
“Without doubt, I’m under no illusion that I will miss the day-to-day fun of playing the game, along with the competition on and off the ice to be better each day in pursuit of team success.
“I’ve had the privilege to play a sport I adore for a living for nearly 20 years and this privilege is one I never took for granted. To spend such a large portion of my career with one club has been a remarkable honour and one I will forever be grateful for.
“Head coaching is something that appeals to me but, at this stage in my life, I feel it would be better to step away to gain some fresh ideas and spend more time with my family. My eldest son Morgan is almost ready to fly the nest and with Mason turning one this weekend, it’s time to put them all in pole position, be a Dad in the stands and spend larger parts of the weekends together as a family.”
Clarke is already one of the Panthers’ all-time greats, but will hope to sign off as a Play-Offs winner before leaving the club he first joined in 2003.
The left winger has been an ever present in Nottingham since then, with the exception of the 2007/08 season when he played for Italian side Alleghe.
He began his career in 1996 with Peterborough Pirates before stints with Newcastle Jesters, London Knights, Milton Keynes Kings and Guildford Flames.
Paul Adey then brought him to Panthers, where he has gone on to win 15 major trophies, including the Elite League, Play-Offs and Challenge Cup treble in 2012/13.
Clarke was appointed Panthers captain for the 2006/07 season and from 2013/14 to 2015/16.
He then took on a player/assistant coach role during which time Panthers won the Continental Cup.