CHaD Football Returning in 2021
Game date, coaches announced as game returns from COVID-19 cancellation
After a cancellation due to COVID-19 in the summer of 2020, Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) announced the return date for the CHaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game, powered by Bedford and Nashua Ambulatory Surgical Centers. The annual football fundraiser will be played Saturday, July 17 at 1 p.m. at Grappone Stadium at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.
More than 80 of the best football players in the state, entering their final months as high school seniors, will be selected to play in July’s fundraising game to benefit programs and services at CHaD. High school coaches across the state are currently nominating players from their teams based on their on-field abilities, academic performance, and character.
Selection of the players will be led by this year’s head coaches - Team East's Kevin Hebert and Team West's Robin Bowkett. Hebert, the athletic director and head coach at Spaulding High School in Rochester, returns to the game for the first time as a head coach after serving as an assistant from 2015-18. His CHaD connection extends beyond the game as his daughter Emma visited CHaD with a heart condition for two years after her birth.
Bowkett, the head coach at Souhegan High School, will make his head coaching debut for Team West after last year’s cancellation. An Amherst native, Bowkett led the Sabers to the Division II championship last fall in his fourth season as the team’s leader. He made his CHaD debut as an assistant coach on the victorious West team in 2019.
Both head coaches have assembled a full coaching staff and will collaborate with them to select the 44 players for each team. Once selected, coaches and players will spend the coming months learning about CHaD, the game, and why fundraising events are so important to the families and patients CHaD serves. Practices for the game begin July 9. Team West leads the all-time series 5-3.
Viewing options for the game will be announced at a later date, depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be an option for fans to stream the games into their home. Decisions on in-person attendance will be announced later in the spring. There will be several protocols implemented to ensure player and, if applicable, fan safety, similar to those utilized by teams and high schools during the successful fall football season.
Despite the 2020 cancellation, the game still generated nearly $100,000 for CHaD through generous sponsors and donors. The players on the teams combined to raise over $46,000, led by the top fundraiser, Colton Burrows of Milford High School. Fundraising is not mandatory for players but they have been remarkable ambassadors for CHaD by collecting over $535,000 since the game began. In nine years (eight completed games), over $2.1 million total has been generated by the game. Donation, sponsorship, and volunteer information will be available in the coming weeks right here.
In the photo below, Winnacunnet's Lou Granger runs for Team East in the 2019 CHaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football game. East won the game, 17-13. The 2020 game was cancelled due to COVID-19 but it will return for 2021 on July 17 at St. Anselm College.