Foxborough, Mass. (June 7, 2011) – One hundred top high school football players from Eastern Massachusetts have accepted invitations to play in the Shriners All-Star Football Game Friday, June 17 at Gillette Stadium. The 33rd Shriners Football Classic kicks off at 7 p.m.
While the teams are divided by North and South, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, the Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international pediatric specialty health care system. The game raises funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children awareness about the expert orthopedic, burn, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, and cleft lip and palate care, available at no charge to patients and families, through the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children. Because of the support from Aleppo Shriners and the Football Classic, Shriners Hospitals have been able to help over 835,000 children.
The Massachusetts Shriners All-Star Game is supported by its 4,600 members, which include the 14 Shrine Clubs throughout eastern Massachusetts and its Shrine Center located in Wilmington.
The 100 all-star football players invited to play in the game represent 73 Massachusetts high schools throughout eastern Massachusetts. In addition to the game, 100 All-Star cheerleaders will perform during the game and the Spirit of America Band, an award-winning precision marching musical ensemble, will perform at halftime.
Coaching the North Squad is Shawsheen Regional Technical High School's head coach Al Costabile. Coach Costabile led his Shawsheen squad to the 2010 Division 4 MIAA Super Bowl for the school's first appearance and championship since 1978.
Heading up the South Squad is Jim Sullivan of Norwell High School who will retire from coaching after this year's Shriners game. Under Coach Sullivan's tenure, Norwell has won two Super Bowls, four South Shore League Championships and won the South Shore Leagues Team Sportsmanship Award 11 of the last 12 years. Coach Sullivan finishes his coaching career with a .600 winning percentage.
Also joining the cause will be 14-year NFL veteran, five-time NFL Pro Bowler and part-time radio co-host Fred Smerlas. Smerlas, who graduated from Waltham High School, where he was a star wrestler and football player, played with the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots as a standout nose tackle. Smerlas, who has been named Honorary Game Chairman, will have the pleasure of watching his son Zack compete in the game. Zack Smerlas is a standout wrestler and football player in his own right at Lincoln-Sudbury High School and will be heading to Brown University in the fall.
Tickets for the Shriners All-Star Football Game ($15) are on sale through the Aleppo Shriners (978-657-4202 ext. 20), at the Gillette Stadium Ticket Office, at any Ticketmaster outlet or at www.ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000. Group sales will be available through Gillette Stadium by calling 508-549-0178. All ticket proceeds benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children
About the Aleppo Shriners. Shriners, or Shrine Masons, belong to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America (A.A.O.N.M.S.). The Shrine is an international Fraternity of approximately 500,000 members who belong to Shrine Centers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Republic of Panama. Founded in New York City in 1872, the organization is composed solely of Master Masons.
About the Shriners Hospital for Children – Boston. This 30-bed pediatric burn hospital provides comprehensive acute care and reconstructive and rehabilitative care to children who have been burned. A brand-new hospital was recently constructed in Boston to replace the old facility. There is no charge to the patient or family for any of the medical care or services provided by Shriners Hospitals. This hospital is one of 22 Shriners Hospitals throughout North America.
About the Shriners Hospitals for Children - Springfield. This hospital recently completed a $2 million renovation to its outpatient department to accommodate the growing trend in outpatient activity. After several years of planning, the project was executed in February 2009, with the end result being additional modernized space needed to handle 20,000 clinic visits annually.
About Gillette Stadium In addition to serving as the home of the three-time Super Champion New England Patriots and the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium serves as the venue for the MIAA Super Bowls, the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association clinic and the New England high school football combine. Located adjacent to Gillette Stadium is The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, an award-winning sports and entertainment experience that features a New England football exhibit. Each of the reigning high school championship teams in New England are honored in the exhibit's Wall of Champions.