Becoming an Elite Cardiff Devil
7 October 2011
Luke in action
(credit: Tim Bowers)
Cardiff PhD student Luke Piggott will be splitting his time this season between the laboratory and the ice hockey rink, having signed a new contract with Cardiff Devils Elite League team.
Luke, who has played for the National League side for the last four years and was last season’s top scorer, has just signed a two-way contract. This allows him to play professionally for the Elite League team, as well as taking to the ice as assistant captain of the National League squad.
Luke said: "Signing with the Elite League Cardiff Devils team has always been a dream of mine. I have always wanted to play at the highest level of the professional game in this country and to do it for such a great club as the Cardiff Devils is an honour. I am playing alongside the best players in the country and I’m enjoying every minute of it."
When not pulling on a Devils jersey, Luke is likely to be found in a laboratory at the School of Biosciences, where he is working on his PhD studentship under the supervision of Dr Richard Clarkson. His studentship is funded by the cancer charity Tenovus through a support programme for early career cancer researchers. This month his research also received international media interest having identified a weakness in breast cancer stem cells which could help prevent the disease from spreading.
Successfully combining academic research with a professional ice hockey career is no easy task though, especially with Luke training four times a week and playing about 70 games a season. Luckily, Luke’s commitment, along with support and understanding from the School of Biosciences, means that neither has to suffer.
Luke said: "I am very lucky in that my supervisor Richard is very flexible with me combining my sporting career with my research. He has always been up front with me and so long as my quality of academic work remains high, it’s not a problem. I even use bus trips to away games as an opportunity to stay up to date within the field by reading papers. So far, neither seems to have hindered the other and I have recently just published the first paper on my research.
"I’m excited to get back to work with the team for the coming season and I’m really happy that I can continue to play my hockey in Cardiff on a two-way contract. The set-up here is second-to-none and that is clear from the amount of Cardiff-trained players to be found in the Elite League and representing Great Britain."