The Odyssey Trust, owners of the Stena Line Belfast Giants and The SSE Arena, Belfast, have announced the second annual Belfast Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM in November 2016.

Quinnipiac University, The University of Vermont, St. Lawrence University and University of Massachusetts will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the 2016 Friendship Four tournament to compete for the Belpot Trophy across Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November. Just as in 2015, each of the teams compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division One, the top level of university ice-hockey in the United States with information on ticketing being announced in due course.

Thanks to the Belfast-Boston Sister City Partnership, the 2015 Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM was a huge success as the Odyssey Trust opened the doors of W5 as well as The SSE Arena, Belfast for tens of thousands of young people to take part. In addition, over 20,000 fans attended the four ice-hockey games over Thanksgiving weekend with hundreds of thousands more watching on Television across North America as the NCAA took to the ice to play competitive games outside the USA for the first time.

Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust, is currently undertaking a visit to Belfast’s Sister City of Boston to officially announce the details of the return of the major ice-hockey and STEM event to Belfast,

“The Sister City agreement has not only allowed the Odyssey Trust to bring this prestigious tournament to Belfast, but to see it’s return in 2016 and beyond. We are extremely thankful to all of our partners who helped make the first annual event a success and just as it did last year, the 2016 Belfast Festival of Hockey and Festival of STEM will be a great boost to the local economy with plenty of positive media coverage for Belfast from across the globe.”

“The Odyssey Trust is proud that ice-hockey is a cross community sport in Belfast and we are delighted at the opportunity to give back to the communities that have supported the sport and the Belfast Giants over the past 16 years. We want to make this event open to all and we expect that the city of Belfast will, once 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 in 2016.”

Click here for a preview of the Friendship Four teams that will take to the ice in Belfast this November! Watch our ‘Story of the 2015 Friendship Four’ below:

Photo: Andy Gibson