BOSTON – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Councillor Arder Carson, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Northern Ireland and representatives from the hockey community to announce “The Friendship Four,” an international hockey tournament in Belfast from November 27 – November 28, 2015 featuring hockey teams from Northeastern University, UMass Lowell, Brown University and Colgate University competing for the Belpot Trophy.
Last September, Mayor Walsh traveled to Ireland and signed his first sister city agreement with the City of Belfast.
“During my time in Ireland, I saw firsthand how sports, and hockey in particular, play an incredible role in bridging communities,” said Mayor Walsh. “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. “Bringing this prestigious tournament to Belfast is one of the first substantive results of the agreement, and we are delighted that, even before the first puck has been hit, there already is a commitment to play it here for a further four years. It is our hope that the success of this tournament will help stimulate further exchanges, especially in terms of trade missions and educational links. Bringing this tournament to Belfast will be a great boost to our economy. The global media coverage this will attract is likely to bring a very positive offspin for Belfast too.”
“Ice hockey is a cross community sport in Belfast and this is one of the main reasons the Belfast Giants have been able to have success over the past 15 years,” said Eric Porter, Chairman of the Odyssey Trust, tournament hosts and owners of the Odyssey Arena, home to the Belfast Giants. “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. It is an opportunity to give back to the communities that have supported us over the years and we truly want to make this an event that is open to all.”
The Friendship Four will be held at the Belfast Giants/Odyssey Arena.
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.
The Mayor made the announcement at the Bobby Orr statue at the TD Garden.
“On behalf of ECAC Hockey, we are honored to be part of this tremendous endeavor,” said Stephen R. Hagwell, ECAC Hockey Commissioner. “We relish the opportunity to experience and have a positive impact on such a memorable cultural exchange.”
“The Hockey East family is excited about this event, both from the hockey and cultural perspectives,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. “We will work with everyone to make this first event a huge success and lay the groundwork for future such tournaments for others to experience.”
Colgate’s complete 2015-16 schedule will be released once it is finalized.