The Golden Rockets still need billet accommodation for six players as pre-season training is set to start this weekend. (Claire Palmer photo)

The Golden Rockets still need billet accommodation for six players as pre-season training is set to start this weekend. (Claire Palmer photo)

Rockets seek billet families as season approaches

Team needs six beds as players set to arrive this weekend

The Golden Rockets are pulling out another call for billet families.

With players arriving for pre-season training this weekend, the team still needs billets for six players.

“If we don’t get the beds, we don’t get the boys, we don’t get a team,” said Tammy Nagao, who is the billet family coordinator and billets players herself.

“I’d rather not have eight of them in my basement at the end of next weekend.”

Billet families are given a $700 a month stipend to help cover expenses of hosting a player, an increase from the $600 offered last year. That goes towards things like groceries.

Nagao says at her house, players feed themselves breakfast and lunch and join the family at the table for dinner.

Often players have their own vehicles and can transport themselves around town.

Team transportation is provided for travel related to games and the team.

She adds the players are often out volunteering in the community and are away on weekends for games or training.

Nagao says the team brings a lot to the community and that it hosting a player can bring a lot of joy into families, especially those with younger kids who often look up to the Rockets as role models.

“They shovel, they volunteer, they bring business into town when their parents come and visit and stay in hotels,” said Nagao.

“A lot of the little kids in town, they think it’s pretty cool to have a Rocket in their house.”

Nagao thinks that the increased cost in living is contributing to the difficulty in recruiting billet families, as well as the fact the exchange student program offers $900 a month.

However, she points out hosting a Rocket is less of a commitment due to their travel schedule, and that the players leave at the end of the season in February or March, instead of staying until the end of the school year.

“You don’t make money off of it, but you do it because it’s something we want to have in our community,” said Nagao.

Nagao vouches to the benefits felt by families.

Se’s billeted players for the last five years and stays in touch with all those who have come through their doors.

“They become a part of your family, which is what you’re there for,” Nagao said.

KIJHL