Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Arder Carson popped in to the Visit Belfast this week to see the preparations underway to welcome the Friendship Four NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament to the city later this month.

Met by Visit Belfast Chief Executive Gerry Lennon; Shane Johnston, Project Manager of the Friendship Four games and Steve Thornton, Head of Hockey Operations at the Belfast Giants, the Lord Mayor viewed one of the front windows dressed to promote the event.

The Friendship Four NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament will take place at the SSE Arena over Thanksgiving weekend on 27 and 28 November. Teams from the University of Massachusetts (UMass Lowell), Northeastern, Brown and Colgate will compete against one another for the coveted Belpot Trophy.

Supported by Belfast City Council, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Friendship Four tournament is a landmark event for the city as it will be the first time the games are played outside the US and is expected to draw in large numbers of spectators from across Northern Ireland, the Republic, Britain and the US.

Schoolchildren from across Belfast will be in the SSE Arena to watch the first match of the tournament on Friday 27 November. Members of the public are also welcome to pick up a piece of the action and tickets can be purchased from the venue or by calling the box office directly on 028 9073 9074. The Belfast Giants will also be playing an Elite League Game on Sunday to coincide with the Friendship Four tournament.

In addition to all the activity on the ice, the tournament will coincide with a month long series of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) events, which begin today, as organised through W5. These events aim to strengthen the links between Northern Ireland’s further and third level education sectors with the US and promote STEM in Sport to a wide audience.

For more information on the tournament and the STEM events, visit the Friendship Four website at www.friendshipfour.com

Belfast City Council entered in to a Sister City Agreement with the City of Boston in May 2014 to explore business, cultural and academic links between the two cities. Bringing the Friendship Four tournament to Belfast is one of the substantive results of the agreement.