Western Wildcats’ McKenzie Bell hoping to step up to Scots seniors

McKenzie Bell in action for Scotland (pic courtesy of Scottish Hockey/Duncan Gray)
McKenzie Bell in action for Scotland (pic courtesy of Scottish Hockey/Duncan Gray)

She’s one of a pack of fresh talent hoping to cement a place on the international squad in the next few weeks.

But Western Wildcats midfielder McKenzie Bell knows there’s no room for complacency in what will be a huge year for women’s hockey in Scotland.

Raised in Edinburgh, the 22-year-old began playing while a student at George Heriot’s School, and joined Grange Hockey Club at the age of seven.

Now studying medicine at Glasgow University, she earned her first cap earlier this year after coming to the Scotland squad through the Beatson Cancer Charity Super Series event at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

“I am very new into this squad, and it is very different – very intense,” said Bell, who is also now a member of the Team GB development squad. “I am still getting used to how the team plays, and what’s expected of everyone on the field.”

“The type of training is a lot faster-paced, and you have to think on your feet a lot more.”

She was one of three players introduced to the team for 2019 by new head coach Jen Wilson via the inaugural Super Series platform, designed to give Scotland coaching staff the chance to see the best 54 players in the country compete against each other.

Bell, who joined four other Wildcats players on the senior women’s squad, is part of the next generation of young talent that Wilson hopes will help propel the squad into the top tier of international competition following the Women’s EuroHockey Championship II taking place in Glasgow in August. As part of the preparations for that, the team are amid a variety of training and competitions that included a significant series of matches against Canada and France in May.

Bell got a great deal of playing time against Canada, combining with teammates to create several chances throughout that five-match series. She now hopes to progress further, despite having never anticipated reaching her current level.

“I don’t think I ever expected to be in this position,” she said. “I am just taking each step as it comes.”