Belfast to host European ice-hockey finals at SSE Arena
European hockey's big weekend will arrive in Belfast next year as the Giants have won the right to host the International Ice-Hockey Federation (IIHF) Super Final.
It gives Adam Keefe's side home advantage when they come up against three of Europe's finest teams in the form of Poland's GKS Katowice, Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakstan and Belarus side HK Gomel.
The Giants are the first Elite League side ever to host the Super Final and comes off the back of a successful Continental Cup Semi-Final round that was welcomed by 15,000 fans at the SSE Arena earlier this month. The Giants finished top of their four-team group to seal a place in the final round.
The IIHF announced the decision on Wednesday, confirming that the Giants has seen off competition from Kazakstan.
The Super Final will be played from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 January. Ticket information will be announced as soon as possible on the Belfast Giants official website and social media channels.
Head Coach Adam Keefe is hoping the fans can help roar his side on to their first ever Super Final success.
"The Giants fans are well-known for their passion during European games, especially during my time here, and they made a huge difference to the team when we won the group only a few weeks ago," he said.
"Although our fans may have been expecting a European away trip - I am excited that this team will play for a trophy in front of our home fans right here in Northern Ireland. These games will be a spectacle to watch and the team will need that special European atmosphere yet again when the puck drops at Super Final in the new year.
"Before then, we have a lot of work to do in the Elite League and Challenge Cup - though the 11th, 12th and 13th January are circled in my calendar for sure. Let's make the home ice count in the Super Final.”
The Giants qualified for the 2018/19 IIHF Continental Cup by winning the 2017/18 Challenge Cup, defeating the Cardiff Devils 6-3 in the final on Sunday 4th March.
This is the Giants second ever appearance in the European showpiece event after qualifying for the eight team version of the Super Final in the 2002/03 season.
That year, the Giants travelled to Milan, Italy and Lugano, Switzerland to face some of the best of European hockey, hosts HC Lugano, HC Davos and HC Slovan Bratislava.
Belfast Telegraph Digital