Back in June 2019, after 130 international caps, Nikki Alexander-Lloyd brought the curtain down on her international career.
Her stint in the Scotland squad started back in 2012, when she made her debut – and scored against South Africa, but with new challenges on the horizon, she left behind the Tartan Hearts to focus on the next chapter.
“There were a lot of tears. It’s such a big decision, it’s hard.” Alexander-Lloyd said during a recent appearance on The Top of the D podcast.
“I’d left teaching and was working in finance. The job I’d been offered was an amazing stepping stone for me and I couldn’t take time off any more. It was in at 7 leave at 7 and there wasn’t time to think about hockey. I knew if I tried to juggle the two I would make mistakes and if I made any mistakes I would be fired.”
Bringing the curtain down on something you have worked your whole life for is no easy decision, but with hockey not exactly providing financial security, quite the opposite, in fact, the Scotland No19 opted to start to build her career outside the game.
Despite stepping away from the national team, she sheepishly admits she is still part of the team’s WhatsApp group, and says that she misses the buzz of being involved with the squad “every day.”
“I had to retire which is tough because you don’t want to stop doing what you love especially when you’re still good enough to do it. I tried to convince myself it was the right thing to do. I’m really glad I was able to focus on my job. I’m now in a permanent position and I love where I work and what I do. Hockey had to go on the backburner for about six months.”
Now, almost a year on from retirement, she’s dropped a huge hint that actually, there may just be a bit more left in the tank:
“It’s probably come across that I’m not 100% happy to have stopped. If there was ever an opportunity to make it happen again that would be a dream. My coaching I really want to progress, I’m fully invested and want to see how far I can go, but perhaps I’m not completely finished with playing. Even if it never happens I’m not ready to hang up my stick just yet.”
So, now we wait and see. Will Coach Jen Wilson bring Alexander-Lloyd back into the Scotland fold once international hockey begins again? Time will tell, but it looks like there may yet be more chapters to this story.
Nikki Alexander-Lloyd is a Mercian sponsored athlete. For more information on Mercian visit the website.