The fourth annual Friendship Four, hosted by the Stena Line Belfast Giants and the Odyssey Trust, came to a close on Saturday night in Belfast with Union College, the 2014 NCAA Men’s National Champions and ranked 11th overall, claiming the 2018 title with a dramatic 2-1 victory vs Boston University, one of the most storied NCAA teams and five-time National Champions.
Parker Foo, draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, netted the game winning goal early in the middle period. Earlier on Saturday, Yale University earned a 3rd place finish with a 6-3 defeat of the University of Connecticut.
Union netminder Darion Hanson backstopped his side to the impressive win and earned the Tournament MVP award, receiving the Marty Walsh (Mayor of Boston) Beacon of Hope Trophy.
Union College follows in the footsteps of previous Friendship Four Champions – University of Massachusetts Lowell (2015), University of Vermont (2016) and Clarkson University (2017).
Speaking following the success of the Friendship Four – Shane Johnson, Project Manager:
“Our fourth annual Friendship Four was a huge success ending in an exciting final on Saturday. Record numbers watched the 2018 tournament with the four games beamed into millions of homes around the world with over 23,000 fans catching the action live at The SSE Arena.”
“A special thanks goes to all of the players, staff, fans, sponsors and partners including including Belfast City Council and Tourism Northern Ireland.”
“Thousands of young people from schools and youth groups across Northern Ireland watched a fantastic tournament on Thanksgiving weekend featuring Boston University, Union College, University of Connecticut and Yale University – some of the best sides in NCAA Division One Hockey.”
“We are already planning for the Friendship Four to return in 2019 and, before then, the visit in January of two quality NCAA women’ sides, Northeastern University and Clarkson University with full details revealed soon.”