Intended to help grow the game overseas while exposing college players to the possibilities of playing in the United Kingdom, the Friendship Four battle for the Belpot has become an annual tradition. While Scott Conway of the Providence College Friars was held off the scoresheet during his first trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland, it has not happened many other times since at SSE Arena.
In England, if you say your father plays hockey, people likely will assume you mean field hockey. Conway often had to differentiate when talking to friends or neighbors.
“It’s just cool watching your old man play the game that you want to play when you’re older,” Conway, now 27 and a center for the defending regular-season champion Belfast Giants, said. “Not many people do follow it over here. My classmates and stuff were accepting about it. I brought them out to a game here and there, and they thought it was a cool experience.”
His father, Kevin, is a member of the British Hockey Hall of Fame, and his number hangs in the rafters in Basingstoke, where Scott was born. Conway realized early that if he wanted to achieve a similar success, he would need to hone his game in a land where the term hockey had no ambiguity.