An action packed weekend of ice hockey is coming to Belfast’s Odyssey Arena later this year.
On Friday November 27 and Saturday November 28 the arena will play host to The Friendship Four, Belfast’s first major college ice hockey tournament featuring teams from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Belfast’s growing army of ice hockey fans will get the chance to witness future stars of the game from UMass Lowell, Northeastern University, Brown University and Colgate University who will play for the Belpot Trophy in Belfast’s Odyssey Arena.
Each team competes in the NCAA division 1, the top level of university ice hockey in the United States. To complete a bumper weekend of hockey, there will also be Elite League matches on the Saturday and Sunday involving the Belfast Giants.
1,400 out-of-state spectators are expected to arrive into Belfast from the USA, Europe, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom for an average stay of four days.
The tournament organisers are aiming to generate an economic impact of around £200,000 for Belfast with The Friendship Four set to attract 7,000 spectators to the Friday and Saturday night events, with a further 5,000 spectators to the Sunday match between the Belfast Giants and their Elite League opponents.
Speaking at the launch of The Friendship Four in Boston last week, Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust, said: “Friendship Four will be the first time that teams at this standard of ice hockey
will play in Belfast and we expect our fans to be very excited about seeing it at their home arena.
“It is an opportunity to give back to the communities that have supported us over the years and we truly want to make this an event that is open to all.”
Don’t know what you’re missing when it comes to the ice hockey in Belfast?
Check out this season highlight video from last year: