SIX international hockey players will be juggling ice time with studying as they start their scholarships at the University of Salford, while also playing professional hockey for Manchester Storm.

Matthew Becca, Dane Byers, Michael Clemente, Luke Moffatt, Gerard Hanson and Dallas Ehrhardt will be playing for Manchester Storm while also completing scholarships at the University of Salford Business School. Four of the students will be completing MBAs in Sports Business, with the other two completing an MSc in International Business.

The latest season has already started well, with Storm sitting third in the table with two wins out of three games, as the team look to build on their success of last season when they reached the play-offs in only their second season in the elite league.

Michael Clemente, 27, from Washington DC, USA, explained why he had chosen to study at Salford. He said: “I’m looking to increase my employability by completing my studies. The team are really good about making sure we have time to complete our studies as well as play and train, so it works really well. The standard of the hockey is really high and I love living in Manchester too.”

Luke Moffatt, 25, from Arizona, USA, said: “When I finish playing I’m hoping to start my own business, so the skills I learn on the course will be vital for me.”

Gerard Hanson, 25, from Stockholm, Sweden, said: “It’s important to have a plan for when you finish playing sport as the career is so short, this was such a good opportunity I couldn’t turn it down.”

Professor David Spicer, Dean of the University of Salford Business School, said: “Salford has a growing reputation in the sports business world and this move builds on that. “Our Centre for Sports Business is home to experts in the sector and can teach the type of skills that are in demand to prepare people for life as an executive. Hopefully these six students can all can contribute both on the rink and in the classroom.”

Ryan Finnerty, Manager of Manchester Storm, is delighted with the partnership. He said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity for six of our fully professional ice hockey players to further their education, but to do it at such a well-respected and professional University like Salford is simply superb.

The Storm already have strong links with former University of Salford students who are now leading our Sports Rehab and Strength and Conditioning programmes for all the players on a day to day basis. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship between Storm and Salford for many years to come!”

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