Published Thursday, 05 September 2013
However, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal roll into town on Friday night, across the city 24 hours later the curtain will be raised on the Belfast Giants' new season at the Odyssey Arena when they welcome Edinburgh Capitals, followed by a trip to the Cardiff Devils on Sunday.
And it will, in many ways, herald a new era.
Previous coach Doug Christiansen has gone and in the hot-seat now will be Paul Adey.
I caught up with the Giants at a recent pre-season training session and Adey is confident this year's team will be able to scale the heights.
"That's what we're here for," he said surrounded by his team in the dressing room as they prepared for a pre-season training session.
"We've put together a very good team, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be up therechallenging again.
"It's obvious Sheffield have put together a strong team and Nottingham are very strong.
"Cardiff and Coventry will be there.
"The League might be more balanced than people expect, with upsets."
Adam Keefe will once again captain the Giants this term.
And while it's a case of new faces managerially being in-situ, the Giants will see some familiar faces returning to their ice.
Jeffrey Szwez will wear the Giants jersey again for the first time in four years.
During the 2009/10 season, Szwez was regarded by many as the most influential player in the Elite League.
The statistics back this up; 45 goals and 25 assists saw him amass 70 points from 54 games.
Adey is happy to have him in the ranks.
"I was really impressed when he last played with the Giants.
"I think he's a fantastic addition, he brings speed, size, he can score too and really compliments the rest of the squad."
Adey will also bring a wealth of experience from abroad to the Giants ranks this season, having coached in recent years in Italy and Switzerland.
He - like the fans - will be eager for face-off as the Odyssey Arena side look for another successful campaign as they approach their 13th year on the Northern Ireland - and UK - sporting landscape.
© UTV News