Home comforts can inspire GB at 2017 World Championships in Belfast

Belfast's SSE Arena
Belfast's SSE Arena
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AFTER years of travelling all over Europe, GB’s men’s team can enjoy some ‘home comforts’ for a change after Belfast won the right to stage the 2017 World Championships.

Ice Hockey UK, in conjunction with the citys SSE Arena and the Belfast Giants, won the vote which took place at the IIHF Congress in Russia on Friday morning, beating Estonia 18-7 for the right to host in a vote by the IIHF council members and the six teams in the division.

Great Britain's men's team in action recently in the 2016 championships held in Zagreb, Croatia.

Great Britain's men's team in action recently in the 2016 championships held in Zagreb, Croatia.

Head coach Pete Russell’s team - who won a silver medal at this year’s Division 1B event - will now play host to Croatia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as Japan, who were relegated from Division 1A and the Netherlands, who were promoted back from Division 2A at the first time of asking.

“This is a massive moment for ice hockey in the UK,” said IHUK chairman, Richard Grieveson.

“It has been a long time since the UK hosted a men’s World Championship and it is very exciting we will be doing so again.

“A lot of hard work went into the bid and the work now begins on getting ready for the tournament.

“We are looking forward to working with Belfast Giants, The SSE Arena and our partners in Belfast on this project.”

The arena in Belfast has a capacity of 7,200 and was first opened back in 2000.

Steve Thornton, head of hockey operations for the Belfast Giants, said: “I am delighted that the city of Belfast has been chosen.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported the bid and we will be working closely with Ice Hockey UK on packages that will allow us to welcome many fans to Northern Ireland in April 2017.”

The tournament is scheduled to run from Sunday 23rd to Saturday April 23-29. Ticket details and prices will be announced in due course.