The teams for the Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four tournaments on the American Thanksgiving weekends in 2017 and 2018 have been announced.
The announcement was made on Friday from Boston’s historic Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball team, during the ‘Frozen Fenway’ outdoor tournament.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Clarkson University from the ECAC Hockey Conference along with Providence College and the University of Maine from the Hockey East Conference will make up the 2017 competition on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November.
ECAC’s Yale University and Union College will join Hockey East’s Boston University and University of Connecticut for the 2018 Friendship Four to be held on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 November 2018.
The tournaments will once again take place at The SSE Arena, home of the Giants.
The arena has hosted the Friendship Four tournament since 2015, when the inaugural tournament featured the ECAC’s Brown University and Colgate University and Hockey East’s UMass Lowell River Hawks and Northeastern Huskies.
The 2015 event marked the first time that NCAA college ice-hockey was played outside of North America.
Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust said: “We are incredibly thankful to Northern Irish Connections, the Belfast City Council and it’s Sister City partnership who will help to make the 2017 and 2018 events a huge success as well as a great boost to the local economy with a great deal of positive media coverage for Belfast from across the world.
“We want to make the Friendship Four in 2017 and 2018 open to all and we expect that the city of Belfast will, yet again, open it’s arms to our US guests as well as be excited to see this standard of ice-hockey return to their home arena again for two more years,” he added.