For the first time in NCAA history, there will be two games played in Belfast, Northern Ireland. On January 4 and 5 in 2019, the Northeastern Huskies and defending national champion Clarkson Golden Knights will play play a two-game set at the SSE Arena.
Hockey East announced the two teams would be participating in the inaugural trip to Belfast on Wednesday morning via Twitter:
Coach Dave Flint was on hand for the announcement. The two reigning #HockeyEast and ECAC women's champions will square off for a two-game set Jan. 4-6 at SSE Arena immediately prior to @BelfastGiants games. pic.twitter.com/6eH49S877n— Hockey East (@hockey_east) April 18, 2018
Northeastern participated in the first four-team D1 in DC in November, so the Huskies are no stranger to the big stage. Northeastern men’s hockey team also participated in the inaugural Friendship Four - in addition to participating in the 2019 edition of the tournament - so the school has a good relationship with the Belfast Giants, the host organization.
Clarkson, the back-to-back national champions, were an easy choice to send to Belfast to represent the best of what NCAA hockey has to offer.
The two teams faced each other on the opening weekend of the 2017-18 season. The two teams tied the opener before Clarkson won the second game.
It was a matter of time before Hockey East and ECAC Hockey brought women’s hockey to Northern Ireland after the success of the Friendship Four. This is a great opportunity for both teams to be ambassadors of the sport in a country where support for the game is growing,