ice hockey

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The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships will be held in Belfast later this year.

Ahead of the tournament in April International Ice Hockey Federation are in the city for an inspection visit.

The SSE Arena will host the prestigious event from April 23-29.#

The 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Championship Division 1 Group B will be hosted by Ice Hockey UK for the first time in 25 years in Belfast.

The six competing countries are Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania Netherlands, Japan and Team GB with each team playing each other for a total of 15 games.

The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is the first in a number of major international sporting events taking place in Belfast this year - supported through funding by Belfast City Council.

Other key events are the UEFA Women’s Under 19 European Championship and Women’s Rugby World Cup in August; the NCAA Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament in December and the NI Connections Friendship Four Ice Hockey Tournament in November.