The Friendship Four Ice Hockey Tournament will compete in the Odyssey Arena in
Belfast over Thanksgiving
weekend, November 27-28, 2015, and will feature Northeastern
of Massachusetts at Lowell,
and . All four teams are in Division One of the
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Colgate University
The Odyssey Arena in
Belfast is home to the city’s
Belfast Giants professional hockey team.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson, along with hockey officials from both cities, made the announcement on Friday outside the TD Garden, where the NCAA Frozen Four championships are being played.
Walsh predicted that the American college games will bring a new level of excitement to fans who religiously follow the Belfast Giants. The tournament will also draw hockey fans from the
USA, Canada, and
other European countries.
“These are real games, these aren’t scrimmage or exhibition games,” Walsh said. “The teams will have to play to win” in order to quality for the NCAA tournament in the
The four teams will compete for the Belpot Trophy, a variation on
Boston’s popular annual Beanpot
Tourney, which pits local teams Boston
Harvard and Northeastern against one another. Boston University
The new tournament is an outgrowth of the
agreement between Boston and Belfast,
signed in May 2014 by Mayor Walsh and Belfast’s
previous Lord Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. And Mayor Walsh met with Belfast officials in September 2014 during a trip to Ireland.
The notion of American sports teams playing in
Ireland was first conceived by Massachusetts sports star and business leader Jim O’Brien, when
he organized the Emerald Isle Classic, a football game between Boston College
and the U.S. Military Academy’s Army squad in November 1988 in Dublin’s Lansdowne Stadium. It was a smashing success. Since then several other football games have
been played in Dublin, including the Penn State –
University of Central Florida
match up at in August 2014. Croke Park
Find Out more about Boston's Irish community by visiting IrishBoston.org.