In 1975, the Bloomington Shrine Club partnered with the Illinois Coaches Association to hold the first ever Illinois High School Football All-Star game which was played at Hancock Stadium in Normal, IL. After 22 years in Normal, the decision was made to play the game at Peoria Stadium along with practicing and rooming on the campus of Eureka College in 1997. In 2012, the game moved back to Bloomington and will be played at Tucci Stadium on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University. Shriners from all across the state of Illinois will participate in the 41st annual All-Star Football Game on June 20, 2015.
Over the past 40 years the goal has been to have 88 all-star football players play in this annual event to represent the Illinois Coaches Association and to help support the mission Shriners Hospitals for Children. Several game alumni have gone onto play in the NFL, including former Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak and current Aurora Christian High School coach Don Beebe. Current Northwestern University Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald played in this event in 1991.
Each year this game creates tremendous amounts of enthusiasm within the Shriners organization. Game week includes many ancillary events such as a parade, BBQ for players and Shriners, formal event banquet, and even an official visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Chicago where both teams have the humbling experience of interacting with patients. This year, the Illinois High School Shrine Game is truly shaping up to be “MORE THAN JUST A GAME.”