Returning to The SSE Arena, Belfast in November 2022, the high-profile four-game tournament is the first and only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) hockey tournament to take place outside of the United States.
Four top US college hockey teams – Umass Lowell River Hawks, Massachusetts Hockey (UMass), Quinnipiac Bobcats and Dartmouth Big Green – will come together to compete for the coveted Belpot trophy over Thanksgiving weekend on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November 2022.
Three of the four are returning teams: UMass Lowell River Hawks were winners of the first ever Friendship Four in 2015; while the Quinnipiac Bobcats and Massachusetts Hockey (UMass) played in the 2016 tournament. Dartmouth Big Green will make their debut on Belfast ice in this year’s Friendship Four.
Supported by the Department for Communities, Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and NI Connections, the Friendship Four is a firm fixture in international ice hockey calendar, spearheaded by the team at the Odyssey Trust.
The Friendship Four was born in Belfast in 2015, marking the start of a highly popular international ice hockey tournament that continues to grow to this day.
Created and developed by The Odyssey Trust to promote social welfare and community engagement in Northern Ireland, building on the sister cities agreement between Belfast and Boston, the tournament last took place in Belfast in 2019, with a brief hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the announcement, Martin McDowell, Chairman, The Odyssey Trust said: “We are pleased to officially begin the countdown for the highly anticipated return of the Friendship Four this November. Building on a strong legacy of international collaboration, the Friendship Four will deliver two packed days of sport, entertainment, community outreach and engagement activities.
“The tournament uses sport as a means to engage and inspire young people and has a far-reaching impact, bringing communities together, forging friendships and understanding, whilst promoting the concept of fair play and respect for all.”
For local hockey and sports fans, the tournament provides a rare opportunity to see four top US college hockey teams go head-to-head in high octane live sport action in the heart of Belfast.
With a reputation for providing a pipeline of top talent into the NHL and national Leagues around the world, NCAA hockey is known and loved for its high-energy and fast pace, which is sure to impress local crowds.
The tournament has also proven to be a strong scouting opportunity for the Belfast Giants in the past, with Scott Conway and Jeff Baum just two of the names to have first played in Belfast during the Friendship Four.
Schedule and ticket Information - The Friendship Four weekender kicks off at 2pm on Friday 25 November, with Dartmouth Big Green taking on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the tournament opener, followed by Massachusetts Hockey vs rivals, UMass Lowell River Hawks at 7pm. On Saturday 26 November, the third and fourth seeded teams will vie for third place at 3pm, with the big Championship final game following at 7pm.
Tickets will go on sale Friday 17 June at 5pm GMT from Ticketmaster.ie priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children per game. A four-game pass is also available, priced at £30 for adults and £15 for children. A service charge and facility fee will apply to all ticket types.
For further information, visit www.friendshipfour.com.