Megan Frazer will be ‘double-jobbing’ in the new season when she will line out for Ulster Elks in the Ulster Premier League and Mannheimer HC in the German Bundesliga, once she has fully recovered from a bad knee injury which limited her appearances in the last campaign on the continent.
The 26-year-old Derry woman sustained a smashed anterior cruciate ligament and damaged medial ligaments after a training accident in October and, after two surgeries, she will have been sidelined for around a year when she eventually makes her comeback.
She hopes to be playing by October and, after a month in Germany, she will come home to play for the Elks, after coaching the Jordanstown side at the start of the season.
It’s a compromise arrangement that suits both clubs as Frazer will play the bulk of the outdoor season for the two clubs, with Mannheimer switching to indoor hockey from November to March, by which time the Ulster League should be done and dusted.
Frazer is still in rehab after surgery on her knee and as she remains under contract in Germany, the rules dictate that she cannot play for another club in a different jurisdiction that can aspire to play in Europe, thus ruling her out of the EYHL.
But because the Elks were relegated last season, there is no restriction on her lining out for them and her return to the north will come as a significant boost to their promotion chances.
Joining her in the coaching set-up will be Lisnagarvey’s James Lorimer and Mossley’s Joel Cathcart.
“I will be going back to Mannheim in September to complete my rehab and, all being well, I will play a few games for them in October,” Frazer explained:
“I will come back and play for the Elks from November then until the end of the Ulster Premier League season in February and then return to Germany for the final part of the Bundesliga campaign in April or May, depending on whether we make the play-offs.”
Frazer, who is generally regarded as one of the best female players in Ireland, says her time in Germany last season was immensely beneficial.
“The overall standard of the squad at Mannheimer is extremely high and the intensity of the training as a full-time athlete has helped my game.
“I was playing in a more withdrawn role for them in defence and it was a bit of a change having to mark players instead of being marked.
“It was very frustrating missing out most of last season but I am getting there and back doing stick-and-ball work again but, generally it has been a case of ‘one step forward and two steps back’ unfortunately.
“I had no hesitation re-joining the Elks as I’ve always regarded it as my club and I am looking forward to the new season. ”
“I also can’t wait to play for Ireland again, especially as we should have a World Cup to look forward to next year.
“I will be linking up with the squad at our Dublin sessions as the rest of the girls prepare for the Europeans in Amsterdam. I had hoped to go over to watch them but I see from the website that the final weekend is sold out!”
Anyone got a spare ticket?