Friendship Four tournament heads back to Belfast

The Odyssey Trust, owners of the Belfast Giants and The SSE Arena, Belfast, have confirmed the second annual Belfast Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM will take place in November 2016.

Quinnipiac University, The University of Vermont, St Lawrence University and University of Massachusetts Amherst will travel to Belfast for the 2016 Friendship Four tournament to compete for the Belpot Trophy on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November.

Each of the teams compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division One, the top level of university ice hockey in the United States.

The 2015 Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM was a huge success as the Odyssey Trust opened the doors of W5 as well as The SSE Arena, Belfast, for tens of thousands of young people to take part.

Over 20,000 fans attended four ice-hockey games over Thanksgiving weekend, with hundreds of thousands more watching on television across North America as the NCAA played competitive matches outside the USA for the first time.

Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust, is currently undertaking a visit to Belfast’s Sister City of Boston to officially announce the details of the return of the major ice hockey and STEM event to Belfast.

“The Sister City agreement has not only allowed the Odyssey Trust to bring this prestigious tournament to Belfast, but to see its return in 2016 and beyond,” he said.

“We are extremely thankful to all of our partners who helped make the first annual event a success and just as it did last year, the 2016 Belfast Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM will be a great boost to the local economy with plenty of positive media coverage for Belfast from across the globe.

“The Odyssey Trust is proud that ice hockey is a cross-community sport in Belfast and we are delighted at the opportunity to give back to the communities that have supported the sport and the Belfast Giants over the past 16 years.

“We want to make this event open to all and we expect that the city of Belfast will, once again, open its arms to our US guests as well as be excited to see this standard of ice hockey return to their home arena again in 2016.”

(Image permission: Andy Gibson)

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