Marcus Antonelli – Senior Sports Editor
Just announced today, the Merrimack Men’s Hockey Team will be headed to Belfast, Northern Ireland to compete in the 2024 Friendship Four, an annual mid-season tournament that has been hosted at the SSE Arena in Belfast since 2015. It is the only college hockey event that is hosted outside the borders of the United States of America.
This will be Merrimack’s first induction into the Friendship Four. The competition has seen a total of 12 Hockey East competitors in the 6 years it’s been in session (COVID canceled the 2020-21 tournaments.) Of those Hockey East teams, 3 of them have won the Belpot Trophy (UMass Lowell ‘15, Vermont ‘16 and Northeastern ‘19.)
The Warriors will be joined across the pond by the Harvard Crimson (ECAC), the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (BIG10) and the Boston University Terriers (HEA) to compete in the 4 team, single elimination tournament.
As many know, the BU Terriers became the Warriors newest enemy in their climb for Hockey East glory. Ultimately ending MC’s Cinderella season in the conference, beating them 3-2 in overtime in the 2023 Hockey East Championship game at TD Garden.
The games are set to take place in November of 2024 which gives Merrimack a chance to get a little revenge back on BU in a major competition. Last time the tournament took place, the Quinnipiac Bobcats were crowned victorious. This tournament gives the Warriors first D-1 program a chance to put some unique hardware in the trophy case.