Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

The 2017 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four reached a larger audience than ever before, and was hugely successful in its third year. Thanks to the many sponsors and the Belfast-Boston Sister City Partnership, the tournament went flawlessly and thousands of local youth were able to get their first taste of ice hockey – all for free! As the only division one college hockey tournament outside of North America, the Friendship Four is helping expand the growth of ice hockey and is making an impact on the community of Belfast.

The Providence Friars with Dundonald Primary School students


This year’s tournament had a total attendance of over 21,000 people, with more than half of that total coming from school and youth groups, and the tournament was broadcast across the UK, Canada, and the north east of the United States. For the first time, the tournament was live streamed on Facebook thanks to UNILAD. The stream gathered more than 750,000 views across the two night games!

Festival of STEM at W5


Outside of the hockey, a big impact was made on the Belfast community. Between local primary school visits by the participating teams, the Festival of STEM at W5, and the Boston youth group that flew over and spent the week learning in Belfast, the Friendship Four succeeded in its goal of improving the lives of all and bringing people together.


Congratulations to this years champion, Clarkson University, and we hope to see you all again next year!