Dundee hockey player Gavin Byers is enjoying one of the best spells of his career, as both a player and a coach, at top German side UHC Hamburg.
The 30-year-old former Grove Menzieshill man moved to the Northern city in August of last year as a first-team player but also took up roles coaching the club’s youth teams.
The Scotland international, who has 139 caps for his country, takes UHC Hamburg’s U/16 and U/18 outfits and recently led them both to title glory at local, regional and national level.
The U/18s won the Hamburg, North East Germany and National Indoor Championships.
While the U/16s finished second in the Hamburg and North East finals to qualify and finish seventh in their own national tournament.
And Byers has been pleased with how things have been going in Germany.
He said: “We won the local Hamburg Championships, the North East Germany Championships and the National Indoor German Championships with the 18s.
“With the 16s we came second in the Hamburg Championships, second in the North East Germany Championships and went to the National Championships to finish seventh of eight teams.
“The level of player at that age group is outstanding and a lot of those guys will move on to the U/18s next season.
“The team I have is a strong team. They won the indoor last year and were always looking to win it two years in a row. There are so many really, really, talented boys.
“It was a perfect way for me to come over here, to coach for a team like that.
“I’ve been here since August last year and it has been pretty challenging.
“I struggle with the language but I am trying my best to fit in!
“A lot of people go home but I stayed here over the winter to coach away and learn how the club works.
“I have only been here six or seven months and feel I have done a lot.
“I hear people telling me I am doing a good job and that is nice to hear.”
Despite his coaching duties, Byers is still focused on his playing career with UHC and Scotland.
And he confesses, even though he is used to being away a lot, he does miss home back in Dundee.
He added: “The indoor season has just finished. The first team are in the finals of the National Championships, which they were in last year before losing in the semi-finals.
“We are back in pre-season and are aiming to get into the final of the Championships this year.
“Playing on the Scotland national team, I am away a lot.
“However, I’m used to it. I had a year in England and time in Australia before but you miss the Scottish patter and your mates and stuff.
“I’ve played 139 games for my country and still love it.
“We have a tournament in France in the summer and we’re getting preparations in for the European Championships in the middle of August in Belgium.”
And Byers has been impressed with the facilities at the club, saying: “They have 20 tennis courts, indoor courts, a couple of pitches and a gym. That sort of stuff definitely helps. It’s such a terrific environment and it has such a big impact.”