Jerry Keefe returns to Northern Ireland as assistant coach of the Northeastern University team for this weekend's Friendship Four collegiate tournament 15 years after being part of the first Belfast Giants team.
Massachusetts native Keefe says he is not surprised by the continuing popularity of ice hockey in Belfast.
"Straight away, you could see that the team meant a lot to the city and all the players spotted that. There are three or four guys that I played with that season that are still living here," added Keefe, who presented Bill Clinton with a Giants jersey during the then US President's visit to Belfast in 2000.
The former Giant's Northeastern side will face fellow NCAA Division 1 teams Brown, Colgate and UMass Lowell in the tournament at the SSE Arena on Friday and Saturday.
The matches on Friday will count in the Conference Championship standings.