Andrew Cowan, Chief Executive of Northern Irish Connections commented:

“Just two years ago Conor Sheary was captain of the University of Massachusetts Amherst team that will compete at the NI Connections Friendship Four this November in Belfast and now takes his place among the sport’s greatest players as an integral member of the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup winning team.

“Conor’s achievement highlights the talent and potential of the student athletes that will be showcasing their skills to Northern Ireland’s ice hockey fans at The SSE Arena, Belfast, many of whom will be the NHL stars of the future. We are inviting sports fans across Northern Ireland and further afield to be a part of the event, welcoming the student athletes from Quinnipiac University, University of Vermont, St. Lawrence University and University of Massachusetts to Northern Ireland in November.”

Also Mike Bales, was goalie during the Belfast Giant’s 1st ever title win in 2002!

NI Connections Friendship Four 2016: Quinnipiac University, The University of Vermont, St. Lawrence University and University of Massachusetts will travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the 2016 Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four tournament to compete for the Belpot Trophy across Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November. Just as in 2015, each of the teams compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division One, the top level of university ice-hockey in the United States.

Northern Irish Connections: Northern Irish Connections is a not-for-profit diaspora organisation that aims to connect people with an affinity to Northern Ireland from around the globe.  The organisation is the headline sponsor of the 2016 NI Connections Friendship Four tournament.

Conor Sheary: The 25 year old Conor Sheary helped guide the Pittsburgh Penguins team to the Stanley Cup championship on Sunday 12 June, beating the San Jose Sharks, 3-1, in Game 6 of the finals.  The Penguins won the first two games of the best-of-seven series, with Sheary scoring in both including the overtime winner in Game 2.

For more information on Northern Irish Connections please visit

For more information on the 2016 NI Connections Friendship Four please visit