St Catharines homes sought to billet Niagara IceDogs players


Published July 22, 2021 at 8:19 pm


Billet families are as commonplace to a junior hockey player as, well, pucks, arenas and school-books. Simply put, a huge part of their lives.

To that end, the Niagara IceDogs are seeking St Catharines families willing to open their door to the young OHL players during the regular season.

The OHL exhibition season starts for the IceDogs on September 17 so willing families are encouraged to move quickly as the players land towards the end of August.

“By inviting an IceDogs player into your home and having them become a part of your family, you are providing them a home away from home for the season and creating a lifelong relationship with the player,” said the team in a release.

The teams added that with IceDogs players ranging from 16 to 20 years of age and juggling a busy schedule that includes games, practices and school, billets play a key role in their players development.

They added, “In consideration of all this, potential billets are carefully selected and go through a screening process to ensure a safe and appropriate living situation that will help ensure the players success both on and off the ice.”

Billets not only help players with their day to day living arrangements, but are also there to help to enforce important values and team rules along the way. At the same time, players are made well aware of the rules and are expected to abide by them.

The team added players are also aware that they are a role model for any children in billet families and expected to act accordingly.

“Billet families often become second families for the players, building lasting relationships that remain with both the family and the player long after the player moves on.”

The team added the following points were some important information to take into consideration before applying to be an IceDogs billet are as follows:

  • Majority of our players are 16 to 19 years old. They will come to Niagara from all over Ontario, the United States or Europe to play with our team. As they travel so far from home at such a young age, our players require a very stable home environment during their stay in the Niagara Region. It is our commitment to our players and their families to provide them with a good, stable home environment.
  • The players will arrive in Niagara nearing the end of August and will remain with the team until the end of the season (mid-March – mid-May). At Christmas, the players are given a one-week break to go home and spend time with their families. Oftentimes, their families will come to visit during the season. The visitation of families or guests in your home is at your discretion.
  • We have team guidelines and policies that the players must abide by while with our organization, and we expect our host families to enforce these team rules. Upon being accepted as a Billet family, you will be provided a Billet manual outlining all expectations and policies.
  • Our goal for our Billet families is for our players to have a home away from home, while they continue their education and playing hockey at a high level. Players will have daily practice. Some players will have their own transportation, but transportation to school and practice is a responsibility for the players and hockey operations staff to coordinate.

For more information, or to apply to become a billet family for our players, please contact our Billet Coordinator, Jill Saxton by email or by phone at 289-687-9696.

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