2020 Shrine football game canceled

REGION – It is with regrets that the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Inc. Board of Governors announced the cancellation of the 67th All-Star classic football game scheduled for Aug. 1 of this year. The COVID-19 virus and resulting pandemic has caused cancellation of high school classes, spring sports, proms, graduation exercises, parades, regional fairs, and other traditional social events.

Since March, the Board of Governors remained optimistic that the game could be played and maintained hope that the virus emergency orders would become history by summer and the pandemic threat would have less impact on our communities and citizens. This decision was heartbreaking and gut wrenching and a difficult one to make from the heart.

In our continuous 66-year history, the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and remains unknown to the extent in which it could impact our future or our lives.

Currently, contact sports remain prohibited and large crowd capacities, such as our game, will not be allowed and could potentially put attendees in jeopardy of spreading the virus. One only has to look at the status of the virus in surrounding states to realize it is only a few hours away and resurgence is seen in several states throughout the country. It is imperative that we do not see resurgence in New Hampshire or Vermont that could prevent fall activities and schools to resume.

As disappointing as this decision is, it was made out of concern for the safety of the players, coaches, families, friends, and fans that would be involved. It would be counterproductive to play the game and have the virus spread while playing for the benefit of the patients treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children. We ask sports fans in both states to support this decision and to remain safe and healthy.

The Board of Governors is reviewing our options for recognizing and honoring the players selected to both teams. We are proud of the Maple Sugar Bowl’s rich tradition and ask that everyone remain positive in supporting the players, the Shrine healthcare system, and your communities.

Written by Tom H. MacPhee, board president, and Kristi C. Morris, general chairman

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