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Clarke was born in Peterborough, England and began playing ice hockey in the local junior development system. He made his senior debut at the age of 15 for the Peterborough Pirates in the British National League. He made thirteen appearances for the club throughout the season, scoring one goal.
Clarke spent each of the next five seasons playing for the Pirates, totaling 96 points from 135 appearance. He made his debut for the national team in the 1999 World Junior Championships before being promoted into the full seniors a year later. There was a rumour that Clarke would become only the 2nd ever Bristish trained player drafted into the NHL but was passed over in the draft for his lack of size.
In 2000, Clarke signed for Superleague side Newcastle Jesters. British players were a rarity in the league at the time and Clarke earned seven points from forty-one appearances. In 2001, financial problems at Newcastle saw Clarke move to the London Knights, where he scored three points from ten appearances.
When the Superleague folded during the summer of 2003, the remaining clubs formed the Elite Ice Hockey League. Clarke was signed by the Nottingham Panthers where he became a fans favourite taking thirty points from forty four games in his first season and sixty-one from sixty in his second. In 2005–06, Clarke re-signed for the third season in Nottingham, totaling 26 points from fouty four appearances.
In the 2006–07 Clarke re-signed once again under new Coach Mike Ellis and Assis.Coach Calle Carllson, Clarke was also named captain following a player vote.
Clarke was re-signed by Nottingham for the 2009/10 season where he helped the Panthers win the Challenge cup and qualify for the final four of the Elite league playoffs. The Panthers finished 3rd in the league standings for 2009/10.
After the 2010 playoffs, David left with the Team GB squad for the 2010 World Championship-Division I in Slovenia where they would end up finishing in 4th position. The GB team fell foul of the Volcanic Ash cloud that cancelled flights throughout Europe at this time and had to endure a 27 hour bus journey from England to Slovenia
On the 21st April 2010, the Nottingham Panthers issued a press release stating that David Clarke had signed again for the Nottingham club for the forthcoming 2010/2011 season.
David Clarke wears the number 5 as his preference.
- ↑ Panthers coach Neilson delighted to re-sign Clarke. Nottingham Post. April 21, 2009.