Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe is hoping the fans make the difference when the city hosts January’s IIHF Continental Cup Final at the SSE Arena.
It will be the first time an Elite League venue will host the climactic event when the four finalists will converge on Northern Ireland, with the top team taking the prize and a place in next season’s Champions Hockey League.
And Keefe, who’s side qualified earlier this month, is excited to take part, but recognises he has work to do between now and then.
“The Semi-Final round at home was something special,” he said. “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 went through a few weeks ago.
“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 and I’d love to make the home ice count in the Super Final.”
Giants will take on Poland’s GKS Katowice, Arlan Kokshetau of Kazakstan and Belarus’ HK Gomel in the four-team group. following the announcement by IIHF and will hope to emulate what Nottingham Panthers achieved two years ago by winning it.
They hosted the semi final stage, where they overcame Ritten Sport of Italy and Croatian side Medvescak Zagreb before losing their last game to Katowice, but had done enough to progress.
But it could be one to remember in the history of the club if they were to achieve European success on home ice in what’s sure to be a great weekend.
The club have stated ticket information will be made available as soon as possible.