A MANCHESTER Storm hockey player has become the first from the club to graduate with an MBA thanks to a partnership with the University of Salford.

Two years ago, the scholarship scheme was launched allowing Storm players to complete an MBA or other qualification from the University of Salford Business School.

Earlier this month, 26-year-old Luke Moffatt, from Arizona, USA, who plays centre, swapped his skates and kit for a gown and mortarboard at a ceremony on the universities Peel Park campus to receive his degree.

Luke said: “Obviously playing sport is not forever so it’s vital to have something to fall back on when my career is over. I’m hoping to work for the family business eventually, back in Phoenix, and doing this course was preparation for that.

“One of the best parts was mixing with the other students, who were all from different backgrounds and had different life experiences, so we were learning from each other.

“On the course itself we learnt some key skills vital for running a business, it was about a huge overview of a whole business from a CEOs perspective, rather than a narrower look at one area of a business. I definitely feel I have a good understanding of how businesses operate now.”

Dave Spicer, Dean of the University of Salford Business School, said: “It is great to see Luke graduate. Balancing a career in sport with doing an MBA is challenging so he deserves huge praise for successfully pulling it off.

“Salford has a growing reputation in the sports business world and that is something we want to build on.

“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. Luke will now have a good base for a successful career after he hangs up his skates.”

This season there are five players who also study at Salford and last year the scholarship players propelled Storm to the clubs first silverware since it reformed.

Ryan Finnerty, head coach of Manchester Storm, said: “This partnership is vital to us, it allow us to attract better players, who are interested in studying as well.”