|Hula Bowl (defunct)|
|Previous stadiums||Honolulu Stadium (1960-74)
Aloha Stadium (1975-97)
War Memorial Stadium (1998-05)
|Previous locations||Wailuku, Hawaii (1998-05)|
|Aina vs. Kai (Aina 38-6)|
The Hula Bowl was an independently administered post-season invitational college football game held each year in Hawaii from 1947 to 2008. The game was last played at Aloha Stadium in the Hālawa district of Honolulu, Hawaii. At one point the longest-running sporting event in Hawaii, it had been considered a premier venue to launch professional careers in the National Football League. Hula Bowl was a trademarked institution of the Downtown Athletic Club, of Heisman Trophy fame.
The Hula Bowl was established in 1946 by Paul Stupin as the Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic. It was originally played in the Honolulu Stadium in Honolulu before the bowl was moved to the Aloha Stadium in neighboring Halawa.
For many years, the Hula Bowl was distinguished from a similar event, the Senior Bowl, by playing by collegiate rather than professional rules and by being amateur, which at one point was very important for those wishing to remain eligible to compete in collegiate or other amateur sports in the future, but is less relevant today.
In 1998, then-Maui County Mayor Linda Lingle convinced organizers to move the game to the War Memorial Stadium in the town of Kahului. However, due to poor attendance and reduced revenue, the Hula Bowl returned to Aloha Stadium for its 2006 game and stayed there until the last game in 2008.
In its last format, the Hula Bowl pitted all-star team of players who attended college in the Eastern United States against a team of players from the Western United States. The teams were split into the Aina and Kai teams, the Hawaiian words for land and water (designating "East" and "West", respectively).
Changing direction of the Hula Bowl
On July 1, 2006, it was announced that the AFCA would end its ten-year relationship with the Hula Bowl due to "philosophical differences" over the future plans for the game, including proposed changes for the 2007 game — such as reintroducing the "Hawaiian Islands versus Mainland" matchup used from 1947 to 1959. University of Hawaii head coach June Jones expressed a willingness to coach a potential Hawaiian Islands team, which would have a mix of Hawaiian and Polynesian players and, bowl organizers hope, would draw more fans to the game. The Hula Bowl had also discussed the idea of allowing junior status players to participate in the game and bringing over college football players from Japan, something the game had done in the recent past.
Game officials also discussed awarding a national "Hula Bowl Player of the Week" to college players during the regular season; the winning players would have been invited to play in the Hula Bowl and been able to direct a $1,000 donation to a charity in their state.
The 2009 Hula Bowl was never played. Officials at Aloha Stadium had neither a contract or date ever established for the game. There are currently no future plans to play the Hula Bowl or to schedule any future dates or locations.
- All-time series
- East leads West 15–11–1
- North leads South 9–7–1
- College Stars leads Hawaii Stars 1–0
- Aina leads Kai 4–0
- The game was played at Honolulu Stadium from 1960 through 1974 prior to moving to Aloha Stadium. Aloha Stadium hosted this game from 1975–97, and started hosting the game again in 2006 after being moved back from War Memorial Stadium.
- When the inaugural Hula Bowl All-Star Football Classic was played on January 5, 1947, the teams were composed of mainland college players pitted against a local team of graduates of Leilehua, a local high school in Wahiawā, Hawai'i. The teams played a two-game series every January until 1951, when the format was changed to allow NFL players to join the Hawaiian all-stars in an effort to create a more competitive environment. In the 1960s the Hula Bowl changed formats again, limiting play to only collegiate athletes.
- Poi Bowl (1936—1939)
- Pineapple Bowl (1940—1952)
- Aloha Bowl (1982—2000)
- Oahu Bowl (1998—2000)
- Hawai'i Bowl (since 2002)
- List of college bowl games
In popular culture
In a mid-1990s storyline in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, Harry Dinkle and the Marching Scapegoats perform at the Hula Bowl.