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Friday, March 1, 2024

Women’s hockey to play 2024 friendly series in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast, Northern Ireland Hockey East Association, ECAC Hockey and Odyssey Trust today jointly announced the return of the Friendship Series for the 2023-24 season. Princeton University and Providence College will renew the program with a two-match series on January 6–7, 2024, at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The weekend will be part of a homestand by the Belfast Giants, a professional outfit operating out of the SSE Arena as part of the United Kingdom’s Elite Ice Hockey League. This will mark the third iteration of the women’s college hockey competition, following clashes between Clarkson and Northeastern in 2018–19 and Merrimack and Quinnipiac in 2019–20.

The Friendship Series is an extension of the Friendship Four tournament, which was devised by The Odyssey Trust in 2015, and has been developed year after year to promote education, social welfare and community integration in Northern Ireland, a partnership between sister cities. based on mutual agreement. Belfast and Boston.

Robert FitzpatrickChief Executive Officer of The Odyssey Trust said: “As the first and only NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey tournament to be held outside the United States – we are delighted to announce that the friendly series will once again be held in Belfast in January 2024 , in what would be an elite sporting event featuring two women’s sides, Princeton and Providence.

“The Odyssey Trust is proud to bring women’s ice hockey to Northern Ireland and continue a legacy of international collaboration through sport and friendship – enhancing the cultural, sporting and educational partnership between Northern Ireland and the United States.”

The Friendship Four tournament and Friendship Series grew out of a relationship that began when the Boston Bruins played an exhibition contest against the Belfast Giants in 2010, before going on to win the Stanley Cup that same year.

“Hockey East is committed to providing memorable experiences for our student-athletes and we are excited to have two new women’s teams return to Belfast for another friendly series,” said steve metcalfCommissioner of Hockey East.

“We are appreciative of the opportunity that the great people in Belfast are providing and look forward to continuing the series in the future.”

The tournament returns in 2023 with the support of the Odyssey Trust, Hockey East, ECAC Hockey and former Massachusetts governor and current NCAA president Charlie Baker.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Belfast Giants, The Odyssey Trust, The Hockey East Association and ECAC Hockey for reigniting this experience for NCAA women’s ice hockey.” matt kellyHead Coach of Providence Women’s Ice Hockey.

“I have heard nothing but great stories and memories from the teams that have gone to Belfast in the past, and I look forward to making memories of my own that will last a lifetime.”

The Friendship Series is the first and only NCAA Division I women’s hockey tournament to be held outside the United States, but its roots are well and truly rooted in Boston, Massachusetts. The Friendship theme is much more than just a name for the tournament. The event focuses on uniting communities across Northern Ireland by bringing together a diverse group of young people from all socioeconomic and religious backgrounds for one event. It seeks to build an enduring cultural, sporting and educational partnership between Northern Ireland and the United States.

The phenomenon began with a relationship when the Boston Bruins played an exhibition contest against the Belfast Giants in 2010 before going on to win the Stanley Cup that same year. Boston and Belfast signed a sister cities agreement in 2014, designed to foster strong economic growth, trade and investment, tourism, youth, cultural, faith-based exchanges and educational ties between the two cities and to raise awareness of the two cities as growth cities in the health and life sciences, creative industries, tourism, financial services and knowledge economy sectors.

“We are very excited to once again have ECAC Hockey participating in a friendly series with the Princeton women’s program facing Providence in January 2024 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.” steve Hagwell, ECAC Hockey Commissioner.

“All previous events hosted by our friends in Belfast have been first class, and have provided memories of a lifetime for student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans. We are sure the 2024 Friendship Series will be the same – for everyone involved A tremendously memorable event for.”

As a result of the agreement, discussions began with the city of Boston, Hockey East and the ECAC regarding the possibility of hosting a tournament in Belfast. The city of Belfast, through its professional ice hockey team, the Belfast Giants, recognized that hockey was a sport where people came together, regardless of religion, community background, in a neutral setting to cheer for the same team.

“We are very excited to travel to Belfast and showcase our game to international fans,” said the Princeton head coach. Cara More Said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that most college hockey players never get to experience. At Princeton, we believe in education through athletics, and we look forward to sharing the unique history and customs of the people of Belfast. Excited to learn.”

“We are also excited to bring top-level college hockey play to Providence. It is going to be a highlight for many of our players as they create memories that last a lifetime. We look forward to working with the ECAC and Princeton University Grateful for helping facilitate this wonderful experience.”

A major focus of the Maitri series is education, involving the education of youth through sports to instill a sense of mutual understanding and a sense of friendship, solidarity and fair play; exploring the opportunities that education can provide in both Northern Ireland and the USA through scholarships and placements; And education is linked to future job opportunities and economic success.

In parallel, the Friendship Series initiative aims to focus on social inclusion – ensuring that youth and communities from rural and urban disadvantaged areas are engaged with education and to identify relevant areas of study and potential future career paths. provide opportunities.

Further information and details on the issue of Friendship Series tickets will be announced in the coming months.

For more media information and interview requests, please contact:

chantel thompsonSenior Marketing Executive, The Odyssey Trust
Tel: 0780 805 4755 | Email:chanelle.thompson@theodyssey.co.uk

## friendship four ##

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