College Hockey Tourney modeled on Boston's Beanpot
On Thanksgiving weekend 2015, hockey teams from Brown, Colgate, Northeastern and UMass-Lowell will travel to Belfast for a major international hockey exchange that will include several educational and sporting events hosted by the visiting college students and the Belfast Giants hockey team. Mayor Martin Walsh announced the news on April 10 as part of his first sister city Boston-Belfast partnership event.
Mayor Walsh was joined by Councillor Arder Carson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Northern Ireland and representatives from the hockey community to announce “The Friendship Four.” The tournament will be staged from November 27 - November 28 at the Belfast Giants/Odyssey Arena.
“During my time in Ireland, I saw firsthand how sports, and hockey in particular, play an incredible role in bridging communities,” said Mayor Walsh at an announcement ceremony. “I am thrilled to announce the first tournament for the Belpot Trophy this fall. I would like to thank former mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir for his original partnership in this ambitious exchange and his continued hospitality towards Boston and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, and the Belfast City Council for their commitment to making this tournament become a reality.”
“The Sister City agreement which we signed with Boston last May is designed to foster stronger economic development, trade and investment, tourism, youth, cultural, faith based exchange and educational linkages between our two cities,” said Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson.
“The 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,” said Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust,tournament hosts and owners of the Odyssey Arena, home to the Belfast Giants.
The City of Boston is working with Secretary of State John Kerry’s Office of Global Partnerships and the Belfast Giants to incorporate educational components to the tournament weekend, including having student-athletes visit classrooms in Belfast.