The 2018 Friendship Four saw many highly talented hockey players visit Belfast to compete in the tournament, and this October many of them will be making their dream move to the NHL.
Increasingly, more hockey players are choosing to leave college hockey to sign their first pro contract, forgoing the remaining years of their college program to begin a professional career in hockey.
Boston University has established itself as one of the best developers of young talent for the NHL. They boast dozens of top-level alumni playing in the NHL including Jack Eichel (Buffalo), Charlie McAvoy & Matt Grzelcyk (Boston) and Kevin Shattenkirk (New York). Losing players early to the NHL has become commonplace at BU but replacing these top players on a yearly basis will be a challenge.
Boston University has continued this tradition in 2018 by sending some players, who recently competed in the Friendship Four, to the NHL. This summer will be a busy one for Boston University as they are faced with replacing five key players who have to sign their first NHL contracts. Over the past week, BU has lost Dante Fabbro (Nashville), Chad Krys (Chicago), Bobo Carpenter (New York), Jake Oettinger (Dallas) and Joel Farabee (Philadelphia).
The Friendship Four has seen many former participants make their way into the NHL. Brown Bears Nick Lappin (New Jersey) and Quinnipiac Bobcat Connor Clifton have both earned roles in the NHL following their collegiate careers. Clifton played in this year’s Stanley Cup final with the Boston Bruins.
The 2019 Friendship Four will feature two universities making their debut in the Friendship Four. The University of New Hampshire and Princeton University will be competing for the coveted Belpot trophy in Belfast. The 2019 Friendship Four will also feature two returning universities. The Northeastern University Huskies and Colgate Raiders will return to Belfast both trying to claim their first Belpot title.
The 2015 Northeastern team that played in the Friendship Four featured four players that have gone on to star in the NHL. The 2015 team included; Matt Benning (Edmonton), Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh), Dylan Sikura (Chicago) and Adam Gaudette (Vancouver) who have all successfully made the jump to the NHL. The last time the Huskies were in Belfast, they narrowly lost in Belpot Final to UMass Lowell. Since then, the Huskies have won 2 Hockey East playoff championships and 2 Beanpot trophies. The next time they come to Belfast they will be looking to claim their first Belpot trophy.
Which future NHL stars will be in this year’s Friendship Four!!
2019 Friendship Four tickets on sale at the SSE Arena box office….