The Grand Forks Border Bruins badly need families willing to billet their players for the upcoming season.
New head coach and general manager Dave Hnatiuk said Friday that they only have nine confirmed beds, but require 23 to 25. “So we’re well short of the mark and time is not working in our favour,” he said. “Without billets there’s no season.”
Hnatiuk suspects COVID-19 is making some families skittish about bringing a player into their home, but notes the KIJHL has instituted a mandatory vaccination policy.
He adds the lack of billet families is not just a Border Bruins problem, but “league-wide, junior-hockey wide, and sport-wide wherever billets are required.”
Billet hosts have to pass a criminal record check but otherwise all they are asked to provide is a bedroom in a positive environment and some meals. Specific perks in return include $600 per month to defray expenses, season’s tickets, and invitations to team activities.
Hnatiuk says the intangibles, however, are far greater: players often become close with their host families, creating lifelong friendships. “It’s a great opportunity to help out the local team and these young men get to know families from other places,” he said.
Players have a busy schedule during the season, so they’re not in your house around the clock. They’ll play 21 games on the road in addition to practices and daily workouts. Many will take part-time jobs or attend classes at Selkirk College.
Players are expected to be a positive addition to the households where they stay and contributing members of the community.
“It’s not just about hockey,” Hnatiuk said. “We are gaining volunteers, for example helping out kids in reading programs. It extends beyond the rink, which sometimes gets missed.”
If you’re interested in being a billet family, contact Karen Heric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training camp is scheduled for Sept. 10-12 with the season expected to begin in early October.