Shriners football comes to Hanover

by Maura Henninger | 8/7/98 5:00am

About 10,000 visitors will descend on Dartmouth's Memorial Stadium tomorrow to witness the 45th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, a charity football game that benefits hospitalized children and burn victims.

Four thousand people will march in the Shriners' parade, which will proceed up Main Street and wind its way into the stadium prior to the game.

In its 44 years, the charity football game has raised nearly $4 million -- including $200,000 last year -- for the Boston Burns Institute and Shriners' Hospitals in Springfield, Mass., and Montreal, Canada, according to a Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Inc press release.

The football game will feature teams of 1998 high school graduates representing New Hampshire and Vermont, according to the release.

The New Hampshire team will be coached by Hugo Bolin, while Mike Norman will coach the Vermont team.

The Maple Sugar Bowl players were nominated by their high school head coach and selected for the team by a screening committee of eight coaches, according to the press release.

No more than two players can be selected from the same New Hampshire school except for the two at-large spots, the release states.

No more than three players are to be selected from each Vermont high school, not including the six wild card spots on the team. Even with the wild card selections, there should be no more than seven players from any one Vermont high school, according to the release.

Over the years, according to Associate Director of Alumni Relations Dave Orr, a number of Dartmouth students have played in this game. Some have even gone on to play professional football, he said.

"The game certainly does bring together the 36 best high school football players in New Hampshire and Vermont," Orr said. "It's an exciting game."

The coaches, officials and Shriners all donate their time and services for the game, the release said.

Tickets to the game will be $6 in advance, $7 on game day and $10 for reserved seats. Ticket information is available from the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Inc.

There are 19 Shriners' orthopedic hospitals for children and three Shrine Burns Institutes across North America that provide free medical care for children under 18, according to the release. More than a half million children have been treated in the 75 years since the first Shriners' Hospital opened.

The Shriners international fraternity was founded in 1872. According to the press release, more than 600,000 men are affiliated with the 191 Shrine chapters throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Panama.

The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is the third largest Shrine game of its kind in the U.S. in terms of money raised, behind games played in San Francisco and North Carolina.

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