The Columbia Valley Rockies will soon be gearing up to hit the ice, and Rockies billet co-ordinator Angie Mackenzie is looking for families to help house players for the upcoming season.
“The neat thing for us was being able to go watch their games, and be a part of their hockey life,” Mackenzie said. “We’re not hockey parents at all… so we’d watch hockey on TV, but we weren’t big into the scene like a lot of the other hockey parents around here, but now we are, and we love it.”
Mackenzie is looking for roughly 12 more homes to help billet players once training camp starts on Monday (September 3), and she already has about nine homes to help house the 23 odd players the Rockies will field this upcoming season. Families can take multiple players if they wish, and are given $550 per month per player to help cover food and other associated costs.
The commitment lasts until the end of the season in February, or slightly longer should the team make the playoffs. Mackenzie, who started billeting last year, said she had an amazing experience and, as a whole, last year went quite well for all the families involved.
“We had a great experience, the neat thing was that even the families and parents (of the players), we bonded with them as well,” she said. “It was a very positive experience… our [billets] said it felt like home.”
While players are staying in a billet family’s home, they have stringent team rules they must follow, and Mackenzie said it was important for them to have rules around the house as well, like cleaning up after themselves and behaving in a respectful manner. Team rules from the past have included a 9 p.m. curfew that Mackenzie said she’s not sure will return, but regardless, the players conducting themselves in a respectful manner in and around the community is a must, as they represent both themselves and the hockey team to the general public. There are also opportunities to move players around in case of conflicting personalities, but Mackenzie said it doesn’t happen very often.
“Families know that they can always come to me with any little issue, whether they think it’s big or not,” she said. “It’s important that the families are happy, as well as the players too.”
To learn more about becoming a billet family, contact Mackenzie by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.