Remember the Belfast Beanpot plan?
It appears that after having failed to take one of the premier college hockey tournaments in North America across the Atlantic, Boston's twin city Belfast is back again, and this time, they're serious.
According to UK media in Belfast last night, the Odyssey Arena will play host to "four of Boston and the USA's top college teams" for a tournament that will see 12,000 free tickets handed out to young people in the Northern Irish capital.
The Odyssey has already hosted a Boston visit - it was the venue when the Boston Bruins played a UK Elite League Select team disguised as the Belfast Giants, the "normal" tenants of the arena.
The "Friendship Four" will take place over Thanksgiving weekend (27/29 November) - and will definitely not involve Boston University, as they're in New York to play Cornell that weekend - but it's interesting to note that already the city are keen to specifically mention Boston in the PR, which implies that they'll be looking to get Boston College, Harvard, Northeastern, or one of the other New-England area colleges as a definite participant.
The NCAA has held sports events in Ireland before, notably Notre Dame playing a football game at Dublin's Croke Park, and the Air Force Academy have also visited Britain to play club teams in the early 2000's-but this will be the first time an NCAA Div I hockey program, never mind four of them, will have visited British soil.
They couldn't have picked many better cities than Belfast-the Odyssey is a state-of-the-art venue and the city is a proud ice hockey town, with the Giants well established in both the city and Northern Ireland as a whole and regular crowds of 4,000+ for UK Elite League games. The Giants are expecting hockey fans to travel from all over the UK for a chance to see some of the best young talent in the game and a potential host of future NHLers.
The city itself is also an excellent venue for nightlife, with the Odyssey Arena itself an entertainment complex considered one of the best hockey venues in Britain, and the Northern Irish coast a truly wonderful place for a short holiday (I can speak from experience)
The event is scheduled to be launched at the Frozen Four weekend in Boston by the Lord Mayors of the respective cities, and will be paid for by a combination of city funds and the International Friendship Fund of the Northern Irish Government.
So-it's not the Beanpot, but it appears that Marty Walsh and Belfast's quest to get Boston college hockey seen in one of its twin cities has finally borne fruit. Thoughts, readers? Would you travel for the mother of all Thanksgiving college hockey road-trips?