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Belfast is getting ready to welcome Ice Hockey World

By Frank Brownlow

Published 21/05/2016

Coup: Steve Thornton is delighted to bring the World Championship to Belfast
Coup: Steve Thornton is delighted to bring the World Championship to Belfast

The Belfast Giants are putting plans in place for the hosting of the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship.

Ice Hockey UK, in conjunction with the SSE Arena and the Belfast Giants, won the vote - which took place at the IIHF Congress in Russia yesterday - for the right to host the event.

The UK edged out Estonia with votes cast by the IIHF council members and the six teams in this division - 1B - of the World Championship.

Team Great Britain & Northern Ireland will host Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as Japan - relegated from Division 1A - and the Netherlands, promoted back from Division 2A at the first time of asking.

Steve Thornton, Head of Hockey operations for the Stena Line-sponsored Belfast Giants, said: "I am delighted that the city of Belfast has been chosen to host the prestigious 2017 World Championship.

"The successful bid was down to a lot of hard work by Ice Hockey UK, Odyssey Trust, the SSE Arena and Belfast City Council - without them, this would not have been possible.

"I would like to thank everyone who supported the bid and we will be working closely with Ice Hockey UK on packages that will allow us to welcome many fans to Northern Ireland in April 2017."

Richard Grieveson, IHUK chairman, said: "This is a massive moment for ice hockey in the UK.

"It has been a long time since the UK hosted a World Championship and it is very exciting we will be doing so again. A lot of hard work went into the bid and the work now begins on getting ready for the tournament.

"We are looking forward to working with the Belfast Giants, the SSE Arena and our partners in Belfast."

The tournament is scheduled to run from Sunday, April 23 to Saturday, April 29.

Belfast Telegraph

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