The Golden Rockets are putting out a call for billet families, with hockey season only nine weeks away.
According to billet family coordinator Tammy Nagao, who is a billet mom herself, billet families are integral to iceing a team this fall, as players need a place to stay in order to lace up for the Rockets come September.
“If there’s no billet families, there’s no hockey team,” said Nagao.
“It’s an amazing experience, you make friends with the boys moms and dads, it’s just a family, it’s like having an extra kid at your dinner table.”
Nagao says that they need around 20 to 25 families who are willing to house players, with 15 signed up already.
Duties include housing the players, picking them up and transportation, as well as providing them three meals a day. There is a stipend of $600 a month to help cover the costs of the billet, as well as seasons tickets to the Rockets.
“You’re not doing it for the money, you do it because you love hockey, the team, the boys and their families. You’re just adding people to your family,” said Nagao.
“It can be an emotional rollercoaster for sure, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Nagao acknowledges that last year was a tough one for billets and billet families, as the team barely saw the ice before COVID-19 shut down the team for the season.
However, they’re looking forward to a return to normal this year, with a 42 game schedule that’s set to kick off on Oct. 1, with plans to pack the Plywood Palace with fans as restrictions continue to loosen province-wide. Training camp will get underway in September, with the rink hopefully reopening on Sept. 7.
Prospective Rockets will have to be fully vaccinated to attend camp and will abide by team rules while billeting. Nagao says that the boys are well-behaved and abide by curfew, but if there’s any problems, she will step in and the players will potentially be sent home.
Nagao also says that if you have younger boys in minor hockey, it can be a great experience for them to have a Rocket in their home, as a role model and someone to look up to.
For more information on becoming a billet family, contact Nagao at 250-439-9557 or 250-344-6618.