David Forsyth has announced his retirement from international hockey. The Scot played in two Commonwealth Games as well as in the momentous Men’s EuroHockey Championship II gold medal winning team in 2017.
With Scotland men’s team’s return to A-Division only a few weeks away it was a tough decision for Forsyth to call time on his Scotland career. He said, “I was planning on retiring after the Euros but picked up an ankle injury a few weeks back. I was waiting to see if I could recover in time for the Euros but I spoke to the Physios and management to discuss my options, and talked it over with my family, and took the decision to retire now.
“I might have been back training for one weekend before the Euros but A Division is a big ask for that. It wouldn’t be right to try and play at that level on one training weekend after an injury. There’s no way I’d have been fit enough to compete at that level after so much time out.”
“I was emotional, it wasn’t the ending I wanted, but I’ve accepted it now.”
Forsyth made his debut in 2010 against USA in Stirling, but got injured soon after and needed a knee operation and didn’t play again until 2013. Regardless, it was a welcoming time in the squad for Forsyth with many of his Kelburne teammates in the team at that time – he really felt like he was amongst friends.
David only scored one goal for Scotland but it was a goal that was a bit special. It came last year in an FIH Hockey Series match in Lousada. Recalling the strike, he joked, “I think it’s the best goal Scotland has ever scored! It’s funny because Cammy Golden said to me that morning that I would score, and we had a good laugh about it. Then when it happened everyone celebrated like mad, the boys were really chuffed for me.”
There’s a lot of experiences that Forsyth looks back fondly on but his favourite memories of playing for Scotland include winning Men’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow; the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games; and winning the U21 Europeans in Vienna in 2010.
He explained, “Glasgow 2014 was the best one. Playing a Commonwealth Games in your home town is unbelievable and not many people get to experience that. The day of the opening ceremony was amazing; a bunch of us went to George Square and it was just mayhem. Everyone wishing us good luck and wanting photographs.
“It was great that all our families and friends could be there, and be involved. Everyone was there, it was amazing. Playing Australia at Gold Coast 2018 was another incredible experience, but Glasgow was the best.”
Next month Scotland men will play at the EuroHockey Championships in Antwerp. It is the reward after a long effort to finally gain promotion to the top division of European hockey. Winning EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow in 2017 got the team there and it’s a huge achievement that Forsyth remembers fondly.
“We missed out on promotion in the previous Euros in Prague on shootouts and it was a really emotional one for the players, but losing made us hungrier. We were so hungry to win in Glasgow. Having a big home crowd was amazing and really helped. It was such a good team for that tournament, one of the best we’ve had. It’s not often we get to win things in Scotland so it was an incredible experience – a great time.”
The Forsyth family is synonymous with hockey, particularly the Scotland men’s squad. David’s brother Alan is in the squad and the squad’s Head Coach is their father Derek Forsyth.
He added, “Being with family for so much of my Scotland career is probably a bit unusual compared to most people, but it’s a really unique experience. We’ve been lucky to experience it together as a family – it’s really nice. My dad has pretty much been my coach at Scotland for the last ten years, first at U21s and then the seniors. I’d never have changed it. Plus my best mate Kenny Bain has been in the team that whole time too.”
After so many years in the international setup Forsyth is looking forward to having time to see family, friends and take some holidays. He said, “I’m getting married, and I can go on holidays now, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve always used all my holidays for hockey so it will be nice to go on a long holiday somewhere. I’ll start to do some of the things I’ve missed out on. I’ve missed mates, weddings, and all sorts, so I’m looking forward to catching up and having more freedom to do things.”
Scotland Men’s Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “David’s been a great servant to Scotland over the years. He’s represented his country at two Commonwealth Games and was part of the Gold medal winning Euros team in 2017 – fantastic achievements.
“He’s had a lot of injuries but to come back from them, and achieve what he has, says a lot about his character. It’s not the way he wanted to finish but scoring his wonder goal in Lousada is not a bad way to finish.”