In the season finale, the Rittner Buam will have to do without Alex Frei

Collalbo, March 1, 2022 - The playoff phase in the Alps Hockey League is approaching. In the fifth season of hockey, the Rittner Buam will have to do without an important element of their attack: Alex Frei will not be back on the ice this season because of a herniated disc.

Three times the forward from Caldaro tried to return to training. "The first two times I realized early on that it wasn't working. The last one, two weeks ago, I overworked myself because I absolutely wanted to know if I was ready for the playoffs. But it didn't go, I'm still hurting," the 28-year-old lamented his own absence. Frei doesn't know exactly when and how he got his herniated disc. "I didn't take a beating. It could have happened because of a wrong and contracted posture or a bad movement."

Alex Frei doesn't even know how long he'll have to rest. "That's the most annoying thing about an injury like this. You don't know how long you will be off. In the meantime, I'm strengthening my upper body to prevent injuries like this in the future. But I won't be back to play this season, that's for sure," says the left winger who this season has scored 28 points in 25 Alps Hockey League games (12 goals, 16 assists).

Despite his own absence, Frei is convinced that the Rittner Buam can go on in the playoffs. "Anything can happen in the playoffs, it's hard to make predictions. But the team is hungry, especially after the defeat in the Italian Championship final against Asiago. This was seen in the last AHL game against Asiago. Recovering a 3:0 away game and turning it into a win in overtime is a test of great character," the South Tyrolean player praises his team and promises, "Even if I can't help them on the ice, I will give them my mental support and motivate them."

Photo: Max Pattis