Belfast Telegraph

Friendship Four Ice-Hockey Back In Belfast

The NI Connections Friendship Four Ice Hockey tournament is returning to Belfast this November.

Four US NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) teams will take to the ice at the home of the Belfast Giants, The SSE Arena, to compete for the Belpot Trophy.

The four games will hit the ice in Belfast on Friday 24 and Saturday 25, November with the next generation of world ice-hockey stars on show to the Northern Irish public.

Universities competing are Clarkson University, RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Providence College and the University of Maine.

The competitive league will be televised to a global audience of millions, as well as fans across the UK, Europe and the United States.

Face-Offs on both days are 3pm and 7pm at The SSE Arena.

Belfast City Council is a key funder of the NI Connections Friendship Four which is now in its third year.

Senior US Ice Hockey officials have arrived in Belfast to take part in an inspection visit ahead of the 2017 tournament. The inspection team was welcomed to City Hall by Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister.

Councillor McAllister said she was excited for the buzz the tournament will bring to Belfast. She said: "The NI Connections Friendship Four is a fantastic outworking of our Sister Cities agreement with Boston.

"The theme for my year in office is ‘Global Belfast’ and this tournament offers our city a fantastic opportunity to showcase itself as an open, welcoming and inclusive place for people to work, live and visit."

The Alliance party representative added: "Year on year the games grow in stature as one of the highlights of Belfast’s sporting calendar. The buzz in the arena when the games are taking place is hard to match and I would encourage everyone to come along and support the teams."

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Odyssey Trust, said: "It is an honour to welcome our guests from RPI, Clarkson, Maine and Providence, the 2017 Friendship Four competing teams. The Odyssey Trust is incredibly proud that Belfast continues to host the only competitive NCAA games outside of America.

“The Friendship Four festival of ice-hockey in November is open to all and is our opportunity to give back to the communities who have been loyal to us over the years."

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