Ambition is growing up in a small Scottish town dreaming of one day playing in the NHL. Commitment is leaving your family as a teenager to cross the world to try to make it happen.

Alex Forbes never did fulfil that childhood aspiration but it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying. The Glasgow Clan forward grew up in the village of Mosstowie just outside Elgin where he learned to skate and play.

Choosing to focus on ice hockey over football, his talents soon became evident to an increasingly wider audience. Impressing at trials, Forbes was offered the opportunity to move to Cornwall, Ontario in Canada to join the OHA Mavericks training programme. As a hockey-daft 14 year-old from the north of Scotland, it was the stuff of dreams. The only downside was that he would need to do it alone.

“My best mate asked me to go and watch him play hockey one day and my interest took off from here,” he recalls. “I started public skating and then playing hockey the following year at the local leisure rink. It was a good club. We won the Scottish championship one year at under-12s and there was a really positive culture about the place which helps when you’re starting out.

“Then one time I was down to play in a tournament in Hull and there was a guy there from the school in Canada who spotted me and came over to speak to me and my dad about it. We went over and I liked it so just went for it.

“My family stayed in Elgin so I went over by myself at 14. I kind of got thrown in at the deep end. My parents came over to drop me off on the Friday, left on the Sunday and then school started on the Monday. It was a bit of a whirlwind.”

The first few months were naturally tough but Forbes stuck it out for four years. The long-term goal, like everyone else, was to play in the National Hockey League and while he didn’t get there, there are no regrets about sacrificing so much in trying.

“I loved it in Canada as it was something totally different to over here,” he adds. “It was a culture shock at the start, staying in a dorm with everything on site including the school. And the rink was five minutes down the road. They brought kids from all over the world to take part. A few from the UK are playing in the British league now and one of the Canadians, Drake Batherson, made it to the NHL. That was my dream too but so few players make it. But I’ve no regrets.”

The forward’s progress didn’t go unnoticed. Call-ups to the GB under-18 and then under-20 squads followed, as did a move to Utah to play for the Ogden Mustangs where he stayed for three seasons, meeting wife, Kennedy, in the process.

“Ogden was unbelievable. There was a good group of British guys there that made it easy for me.  I loved it there. I stayed with a host family for two seasons and I’m still in contact with them now. They’re like a second family to me.”

His Great Britain involvement proved fruitful too. “We went to Estonia for the under-20 world championships and won every game to take the gold. Jordan Cownie, who’s also at Clan, was on that team too.”

Faced with a choice of going to college or turning professional immediately, Forbes plumped for the latter. He has been a regular presence in the British EIHL [Elite Ice Hockey League] ever since, a season with Milton Keynes Lightning followed by five with Coventry Blaze before signing up for the Clan revolution this summer.  At 27 years old, he believes his best hockey days are still ahead of him.

“I’m enjoying it so far, it’s been a good change of scenery,” he says. “It’s been really fun for me and my wife to get to know the city and it’s nice to be back home living in Scotland again. There’s been a lot of change at the club over the summer with new owners, a new head and lots of new players so it’s pretty much a fresh start for everybody. That means everyone’s on the same page.

“I feel I’ve progressed every year in my career with experience. You pick up more tips and tricks the older and wiser you get. I’d like to think I’ve still got plenty to offer on the ice.”

The quirk of the fixture list sees his former Blaze team-mates travel north to the Braehead Arena this weekend. But all friendships will be temporarily suspended when play gets underway, with Clan eager to land a home win to kickstart their season.

“It will be weird playing against some of the guys I’ve spent the last five seasons with,” he adds. “It will be interesting going up against them. But when you’re on the ice you just need to treat everyone as the enemy and this will be no different.”