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Belfast out to welcome the International Ice Hockey World Championships

By Stuart McKinley

Published 17/05/2016

Support: Giants’ Steve Thornton says Belfast would be the ideal host city
Support: Giants’ Steve Thornton says Belfast would be the ideal host city

Belfast Giants Head of Hockey Operations Steve Thornton has described the SSE Arena as a 'fantastic place' to play host to one of the world's top ice hockey tournaments.

The Giants, the Odyssey Trust - which runs the arena - and Ice Hockey UK have launched a bid to bring the International Ice Hockey Federation 2017 Division 1B World Championships competition to Northern Ireland.

After staging the ice hockey tournament during the 2013 World Police and Fire Games, the Giants and arena management are confident they can put on another top class event for some of the world's top teams.

"The SSE Arena and the city of Belfast would be a fantastic place to host the 2017 IIHF World Championships," said Thornton.

"I know the six competing nations as well as their fans would have a great week in Northern Ireland."

Great Britain, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Japan and the Netherlands will take part in the 1B Championships.

Belfast faces competition from Estonia to stage the event and the successful bidder will be confirmed this week, with voting due to take place at the three-day IIHF Congress, which begins on Thursday in St Petersburg.

If it comes to Belfast, the tournament would take place between April 15 and 22 next year.

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