REGION – We are well into the first quarter of 2021, and we are anxiously awaiting positive news from the Vermont Department of Health to let us know if our classic football game will be allowed to take place in August.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was devastating for everyone. Our 67th game was canceled for only the second time in the history of the game. With the help of our alumni, advertising patrons, and players, we were still able to make a small donation to each of our three Shriner Hospitals for Children. We were able to recognize the selected 2020 players and presented them with their game jerseys, commemorative t-shirts, and jackets along with our game program that contained bios for each of them.
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Board of Governors continues to plan for the 68th game with the expectations that we will be allowed to play. The Covid-19 vaccines have recently been released to the most vulnerable with plans for the general population by this spring and into the summer. As the number of new cases levels off and more vaccinations are distributed, we remain optimistic that our football game can be played this summer.
With this anticipation in mind, we are pleased to announce the two coaches for the 2021 game. Paul Landry of Kingswood Union High School will be the coach of the New Hampshire team and Chad Pacheco of Brattleboro Union High School will coach the Vermont team.
Coach Landry completed his second season at Kingswood this past year and has previous experience as an assistant coach under William Ball of Exeter dating back to 1997. Coach Landry played in the 1986 Shrine game, and his father, Ralph Landry, played in the 1958 game. Coach Landry states, “It certainly would be an honor to represent New Hampshire both as a coach and a player.”
Further, he says his experience as a player “was nothing short of inspirational.” In remembering his trip to the Shriner Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass., he was touched by seeing the children and uplifted by the medical staff. He adds that the hard work put in by the team’s preparation for the game seemed trivial to the hard work of the Shrine organization. Of his experience, he goes on to say, “It truly was a humbling and inspirational experience.”
Coach Pacheco has been the head coach at Brattleboro since 2015 where he also was an assistant coach from 2005-2014. During this time, he coached every position group at least one time. In 2019, he led Brattleboro to its first state championship in 46 years. He has been the assistant coach multiple times in the Vermont North/South All-Star Game and was the head coach in 2019.
Coach Pacheco says the opportunity to help raise money to give to children in need during difficult times is a true honor. This game has had a huge impact on the children and their families, and he looks forward to continuing that tradition. He states, “I feel honored for the opportunity to coach this team and be a part of the long-standing tradition of the Maple Sugar Bowl.”
Player nominations from this past fall have been received, and the two coaching staffs will be working to select players over the next few weeks. The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Board of Governors continues to monitor the health and safety guidelines from both New Hampshire and Vermont and is communicating with Castleton University where the training camp and the game will be held. More information will be released as we learn the status of Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on this summer’s game. To learn more or make a donation, go to www.shrinemaplesugarbowl.com.
Written by Kristi C. Morris, General Chairman