Official Hockey East Release
BOSTON, Mass. - Hockey East announced on Friday that the UConn men's hockey program has been selected to participate in the 2018 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four to take place at SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland over Thanksgiving weekend, November 23-24, 2018.
“The UConn hockey program is excited to be playing in this event," stated head coach Mike Cavanaugh. "The Friendship Four has grown into a premier event for college hockey and will be a tremendous experience for our student-athletes.”
The Huskies will be joined by fellow Hockey East foe Boston University and ECAC teams Union and Yale at the 2018 event. The 2017 version of the Friendship Four features Providence and Maine from the league and ECAC's Clarkson and Rensselaer.
“Having been part of the first two Friendship Four events, I am thrilled with this news and what it means to the athletes and coaches who will be the primary beneficiaries,” said Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna. “Our hosts have done a tremendous job launching this event and the schools who have played to date have delivered the best of NCAA ice hockey to the people of Belfast.”
The SSE Arena is the home of the Belfast Giants, a professional team that competes within the Elite Ice Hockey League. The arena has hosted the Friendship Four Tournament since 2015, when the inaugural tournament provided a four-game set that featured the ECAC’s Brown University and Colgate University and Hockey East’s UMass Lowell River Hawks and Northeastern Huskies.
Additionally, the teams will take part in cultural experiences, including visiting with youth groups and exploring the deep history of Northern Ireland.
Last year’s iteration of the tournament was an international success, seen on television across North America and Europe, and attended by over 20,000 spectators. The 2015 event, part of Boston and Belfast’s sister cities project, marked the first time that NCAA college hockey was played outside of North America.