To ensure the event could be restored to its traditional home, a new agreement between the college and the Shiners, spearheaded by Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim, will enable more game proceeds to benefit nearby Shriners Hospitals for Children (in Boston, Montreal, and Springfield, Mass.). The Shriners Hospitals provide care to children up to the age of 18 with special health care needs, and conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of the children and their families.
“I’m very excited about the revival of Dartmouth’s half-century tradition of hosting the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game,” President Kim said. “It gives us a great chance, both as an institution and as individual employees, to show support for our regional community. We’re proud to make our facilities available to Vermont and New Hampshire high school athletes in recognition of their dedication to such an excellent cause as the Shriners Hospitals for Children.”
Of the 30 Shrine Football games played every year across the country, the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl ranks third in terms of money raised for the Shriners Hospitals. The event, sponsored by the three Shrine Centers of New Hampshire and Vermont — Bektash (Concord, N.H.), Cairo (Rutland, Vt.) and Mt. Sinai (Montpelier, Vt.) — has raised over four million dollars since it was first played in Nashua in 1954.
“The Board of Governors of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Football Game is sincerely grateful to Dartmouth College for agreeing to host the 2012 game at their beautiful stadium at minimal cost to us,” said Jerry Mason, president of the Board of Governors of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. “This will certainly help to increase our contribution to Shriners Hospitals for Children.”
Following a three-year term in Manchester, the game came to Memorial Field — considered a logical central location — in 1958 for nine years before one-year stops in Burlington, Vt., and Durham, N.H. For 37 years, between 1969 and 2005, Memorial Field served as the site of the game until the renovation of the east stands in 2006 forced the game to Plymouth, N.H. After two more years in Hanover, construction plans once again necessitated the move to an alternate site, this time in Windsor, Vt., where it has been played the past three years.
“We are pleased and proud to host the Shrine Bowl again, as we understand the importance of the event to the entire Twin States region,” remarked Harry Sheehy, Dartmouth’s Director of Athletics and Recreation. “We are grateful for President Kim’s leadership in making it financially feasible for the game to return to Memorial Field and generate as much support as possible for Shriners Hospitals.”
Vermont and New Hampshire, the latter of which leads the all-time series 43-13-2, each select 36 of the top graduated high school senior football players from their respective states to square off on the gridiron every year since the game’s inception. More than 4,000 players have participated in the event, of which about two-thirds still live in the Twin States.
The Shrine Game Director of Media Relations Dave Orr said, “I have been associated with the Bowl Game for 50 years, and I can say there has never been a more meaningful ‘gift’ than what Dartmouth is making. What it means for the game and the Shrine Hospitals for Children can never really be put into words.”