RALEIGH Aloha and welcome back, Hula Bowl. The postseason bowl game that served as a showcase for college seniors prior to the NFL Draft will return to action in 2018 in Raleigh, the Hula Bowl announced Friday.Established in 1946, the Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic was played in Hawaii from 1946 through 2008 and featured the biggest names in football. It moves to N.C., attracted to the facilities in and around Carter-Finley Stadium, most notably the Close-King Indoor Practice Facility recently built several hundred yards on the west side of the stadium.”In reintroducing the historic Hula Bowl, an East vs. West classic, we decided to name a new East Coast home for the all-star classic. After an extensive search, we discovered that Raleigh and the Triangle region is the natural choice with storied collegiate traditions and enthusiastic fans,” said Jennifer Logan, owner of Hula Bowl, LLC. “The city and greater Triangle region feature outstanding amenities for visitors, and Carter-Finley Stadium offers a beautiful venue for the action. In addition, the indoor practice facilities at North Carolina State University offer numerous advantages for an event of this scale.”The Close-King facility opened in the fall of 2015 and has made an impact on NC State recruiting and makes the Carter-Finley complex more attractive to a game like the Hula Bowl because it allows for practice and training leading up to the game without fighting off unpredictable winter weather conditions. Other stadium facilities like the Murphy Football Center and Vaughn Towers give Carter-Finley several premium spots for players, coaches, scouts, and fans. It is not clear if the PNC Arena, which sits alongside the stadium, will play a role in the Hula Bowl festivities.”North Carolina is proud to welcome the return of the Hula Bowl,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “Players, coaches and fans will enjoy first-hand the warm Southern hospitality and enthusiasm for college sports that are the hallmarks of our great state.”The list of NFL legends in Hula Bowl history is stunning: Mike Ditka, Fran Tarkenton, Larry Csonka, Dan Marino and Deion Sanders. Another on the list? Former NC State and ACC legend Ted Brown, who was named MVP in 1979.The Hula Bowl has also hosted Heisman Trophy winners Eric Crouch, Ron Dayne, Dorsett, Mike Garrett, Jim Plunkett, Johnny Rogers, Billy Sims, Steve Owens, Rashaan Salaam, Ricky Williams, and Danny Wuerffel.Postseason evaluation for college football players has become a big-time business, with both the Reese’s Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game being broadcast live on NFL Network and hundreds of scouts, NFL personnel men and media members attending each in advance of the NFL Draft each year.”North Carolina is the sixth most visited destination in the United States,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary John Skvarla. “From the mountains to the sea, to the vibrant Triangle area fans will experience nothing compares to the many treasures people will discover when they visit our beautiful state.”The 2018 Hula Bowl will extend a limited number of invitations to junior-status players to participate in the game as well as collegiate all-stars from outside the United States to support diversity on the field.The game will be played in January of 2018 and the bowl will rotate between Raleigh and Hawaii. The 2018 N.C. Hula Bowl week is expected to kick off with National Football League player testing and all-star practice sessions and will include opportunities for fans to meet their favorite players, participate in a fan experience, and enter a punt, pass and kick competition in which the winner receives an all-expense paid trip to the 2019 Hula Bowl to be played in Hawaii.
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