6 January 2024

Princeton Win 2024 Friendship Series in Belfast

Image for Princeton Win 2024 Friendship Series in Belfast

Princeton University has been crowned 2024 Friendship Series champions after defeating Providence College in a two-game series in Belfast.

Thousands of fanatical spectators packed out The SSE Arena, Belfast for two days of NCAA women’s ice hockey action, as Princeton University emulated the successes of Northeastern University in 2019 and Quinnipiac University in 2020 to claim the Friendship Series title for the first time.

The Friendship Series is the first and only NCAA Division One women’s ice hockey tournament to be held outside of the United States. The event is an extension of the Friendship Four tournament, which was devised by The Odyssey Trust in 2015, and has been developed year on year to promote education, social welfare, and community integration in Northern Ireland, building on the Sister City agreement between Belfast and Boston.

Robert Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer of The Odyssey Trust, commented: “I’d like to start off by congratulating both Princeton and Providence for a truly remarkable two days of action. Both teams are testaments to the ever-growing popularity of women’s ice hockey - across both the United States and Northern Ireland. The Friendship Series provides a unique opportunity to bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together through innovation, collaboration, and a shared passion for ice hockey.”

In the opening game on Friday 5 January, Princeton skated to a comprehensive 6-1 victory, with two goals each from Sarah Paul and Issy Wunder, a first career goal for Gabby Kim, and one from Canadian Olympic gold medallist Sarah Fillier giving Cara Morey’s side the advantage going into day two.

Despite the previous day’s scoreline, it was Providence who started the stronger of the two sides in game two, as Hannah Johnson netted her first goal as a Friar to give Providence an early 0-1 lead. However, it wasn’t to be for Matt Kelly’s team as Princeton came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory, with a power play goal from Sarah Paul putting the Tigers ahead by one with just two-minutes left on the clock.

Robert Fitzpatrick added: “Not only has it been brilliant to watch Princeton and Providence go head-to-head on the ice, but seeing both teams explore all that Northern Ireland has to offer and making lifelong memories off the ice is what the Friendship Series is all about.”

To support the continued growth and development of both the Friendship Four and Friendship Series, The Odyssey Trust has announced the formation of the Friends of the Friendship Four Advisory Board, which will meet twice a year – once in Boston and once at the annual Friendship Four tournament in Belfast – and will focus on growing relationships with collegiate hockey programmes across the United States.

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