Belfast bids for 2017 World Championship third-tier event

Belfast Giants' player Colin Shields
Colin Shields was one of the Belfast Giants players who represented Britain at this year's World Championship event in Zagreb

Belfast could host next year's World Ice Hockey Championship third-tier event after a bid was submitted to the International Ice Hockey Federation.

Great Britain will be joined by Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Japan and the Netherlands at the tournament which is scheduled to take place next April.

Ice Hockey UK, in conjunction with the SSE Arena and the Belfast Giants, have submitted the bid.

The successful bidder will be announced on Friday.

Estonia are the only other country to have submitted a bid for the tournament so far.

International Ice Hockey Federation council members and the six teams in the group all vote for their preferred choice and the successful bidder will be revealed during the governing body's annual congress later this week in Russia.

The Belfast arena, which was opened in 2000, has a capacity of 7,200.

"Ice Hockey UK are delighted to work with the Belfast Giants organisation and stakeholders in Belfast in order to bid to host World Championship ice hockey in the UK," said Ice Hockey UK chairman Richard Grieveson.

"This is a tremendously exciting opportunity and I am delighted that the Belfast Giants organisation have come on board as our partner.

"We have strong support from government officials, Sport Northern Ireland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland."

Great Britain missed out on promotion from this year's World Championships Division 1B tournament in Zagreb last month after being edged out 2-1 by Ukraine in their final match.

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