Former Patriot Fred Smerlas Honorary Chairman at Gillette Stadium’s 2011 Shriners All-Star Football Game

Gillette Stadium will once again host the annual Shriners All-Star Football Game on Friday, June 17, at 7 p.m.

“We’re proud to be able to bring the Shriners All-Star Game back to Gillette Stadium for the second consecutive year,” said Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group, in a news release. “This is a special event and we feel fortunate to be a new part of the Shriners’ tradition. We hope to help Shriners Hospitals for Children raise a lot of money for a great cause and hope the experience of playing at Gillette Stadium makes the event memorable for everyone involved.”

The annual contest benefits the Shriners Hospital for Children, including the Boston and Springfield locations, and has raised $900,000 for the charity to date.

Fundraisers like this help Shriners Hospitals for Children provide care for thousands of children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate, where patients and families have no financial obligations. 

The 100 players invited to play in the game at Gillette represent 73 Massachusetts high schools throughout Eastern Massachusetts. In addition to the North-South football matchup, 100 All-Star cheerleaders will perform during the game and the Shrine Uniformed Units will conduct a parade through Patriot Place.

Shawsheen Regional Technical High School’s head coach Al Costabile, who led his squad to the 2010 Division-IV MIAA Super Bowl Championship, will coach the North team. He was named one of the Boston Globe’s 2010 Coaches of the Year and will be facing Norwell High School’s Jim Sullivan, who will coach the South squad. Sullivan has led Norwell to two Super Bowls, four South Shore League Championships and the South Shore Leagues Team Sportsmanship Award 11 of the last 12 years.

Former Patriot Fred Smerlas, a 14-year NFL veteran and five-time Pro Bowler who played as a standout nose tackle with the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, in addition to the New England Patriots, is the honorary Game Chairman. He will have the unique opportunity to watch his son Zack, a football player at Lincoln-Sudbury High School, compete in the game.

Those interested in attending the all-star game can purchase tickets starting Monday, May 2, through the Aleppo Shriners (978-657-4202 extension 20), at the Gillette Stadium Ticket Office, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000 or at www.ticketmaster.com. Group sales will also be available through Gillette Stadium by calling 508-549-0258.