Ice hockey: Toby’s ‘surreal and exciting’ Scotland selection sets him up for Sheffield trip

Toby Reynolds, Aberdeen Lynx youth player who has been selected for the Scottish U17 conference side.

A rising ice hockey prospect has described his inclusion in the Scotland squad for one of this year’s conference sides as “surreal”.

Aberdeen Lynx youth defender Toby Reynolds, 16, has been named in the Under-17 national contingent who will be heading to Sheffield for an event from May 25 to 28.

He said: “At first it was kind of surreal finding out, but exciting at the same time.

“I’ve definitely excelled in hockey more than anything I’ve done and it’s my main hobby.

“It’s a pretty big commitment starting up hockey, with it being so expensive and taking up a lot of your time.

“a lot of the players are really good.

“I’m quite fortunate to have really good team-mates.”

The event is structured as a five-team round-robin – Scotland are joined by Northern, Midlands, South East and South West – with the top two sides then progressing into a final.

Scottish Ice Hockey are also sending U11, U13 and U15s teams to the event.

Reynolds, who lives in Mugiemoss and already works full-time – at the Green’s Hanon shoe shop – trains for four hours every week on top of any fixtures.

Aberdeen Lynx head coach Owen Reynolds, who is Toby’s dad, said: “I am obviously incredibly proud.

“It was good when the head coach was listing players he included Toby in there. He’s really kept his head down and got on with it.”

The older Reynolds described the competitive nature of national selection: “The Scotland programme players meet every month for eight months. The first two sessions are trials – some people are cut – and the third session more people are cut until there’s a squad of 22 players and three goalies.

“Toby had done a good job to be noticed enough to make the 22-man squad. At that point you start vying for your conference place.

“It worked out quite well. You split them into two teams and they play a game.

“Players you’re maybe not so familiar with get to play with really good players, which kind of benefited Toby. At the start of the programme he wasn’t standing out too much, but as the programme went on and he was surrounded by better players, that really helped him (show what he could do).

“The other thing in his favour was we had a lot of forwards this year and less defenders.

“Now he just needs to keep improving to make sure he gets good ice time in Sheffield.

“He started playing at about 11 or 12, which is relatively late.

“This is the first time he’s been invited to trial and to make it in is harder, because a lot of the other players are established and well known.

“To improve enough in a short period of time and get noticed is quite an achievement.”