It’s one of the key elements of a junior program.
The Brockville Hockey Organization is seeking additional billets for the 2019-2020 season. Host families are needed for the annual influx of out-of-area players who will be suiting up for the Jr. A Braves and Jr. B Tikis.
Fifty-two players were placed in 2018-2019. A similar number is expected this coming season even though it can be difficult to predict with any degree of certainty, according to director of operations Jaime McDougall.
“It certainly is something that our organization values, and we are thankful to have such a supportive community here in Brockville,” she stated.
McDougall indicated that some of the billet families have been doing it for more than 15 years. The organization is grateful to them as well as to newer billets “…who have so graciously welcomed these young athletes into their homes and families.”
Players range in age from 16 to 20. The season from a billeting perspective opens on Aug. 25, when the Brockville organization holds an introduction day for players and their families. The regular season begins in September and ends in late February for the Tikis and in the second week of March for the Braves. Playoffs could add a few weeks to the stay, depending on the length of the post-season run. Some players would remain in Brockville beyond the hockey season if they continue to attend a local school through the end of the winter-spring semester.
The Central Canada Hockey League sets a stipend that the player or his family pays directly to the billet on a monthly basis. The Brockville organization also offers perks to the Braves and Tikis billets in appreciation of their support, McDougall noted.
In its long-term junior billeting guidelines, Hockey Canada indicates that a host family’s role includes being a mentor, friend, counsellor and good role model to the players and to treat them as part of the family.
“Players must keep in mind that it is not a right to live at a billet’s home but a privilege.”
Anyone interested in serving as a junior hockey billet with the Brockville teams or who would like to learn more about it is asked to contact Kathy MacDonald, volunteer billet coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.