The Sacred Heart University men's ice hockey team will take part in the 2020 Friendship Four Hockey Tournament, it was announced Thursday at a press event at the Belfast, Ireland Town Hall. SHU will join in-state rival Quinnipiac University, and Atlantic Hockey foes Army West Point and Mercyhurst College in the two-day, four-game event next Thanksgiving.
"Being able to travel to Belfast to compete in a hockey tournament, learn about Irish history and have the opportunity to meet and connect with people from another culture will no doubt be an experience of a lifetime for our team," said Pioneers head coach CJ Marottolo."The dates of the Friendship Four tournament will be circled on our calendars for sure as we strive to bring back a Belpot trophy."
The 2020 Tournament will be played at The SSE Arena in Belfast, November 27 and 28thfor the sixth consecutive year. The four teams will compete for the prestigious Belpot Trophy. The tournament presents a unique opportunity for local sports fans to watch the NCAA hockey tournament that takes place outside of the United States. The Friendship Four tournament is hosted by the Odyssey Trust at the SSE Arena, Belfast and partners include Tourism NI, Department for Communities and Belfast City Council.
Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Odyssey Trust said, "The Odyssey Trust is delighted to welcome Quinnipiac University, Mercyhurst University, Army University and Sacred Heart University to the sixth Friendship Four Tournament in 2020. Continuing on the success of the previous tournaments, it is a privilege to host the only competitive NCAA games outside of America here in Belfast."
Bob DeGregorio from the Atlantic Hockey Commissioner commented, "Atlantic Hockey and its member institutions are grateful for the opportunity to participate in the 2020 Friendship Four. We want to thank Shane Johnson, the Belfast Giants, and the Friendship Four committee for inviting Atlantic Hockey to be a part of what has become one of the most popular events of the season. Our teams and student-athletes are looking forward to being in Belfast in November 2020."
For more information on the tournament and to book tickets, visit www.friendshipfour.com.
The Friendship Four Tournament began in 2015 in support of the Boston and Belfast Sister Cities Agreement which was designed to foster stronger economic development, trade and investment, tourism, cultural exchange and educational linkages between the two cities.
SHU hockey opened the 2019-20 season with a thrilling tie versus UConn, 3-3, at Webster Bank Arena this past Saturday night. The Pioneers travel to Penn State this weekend for a pair of games, before returning home on October 18thfor their Atlantic Hockey opener versus AIC. That game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.