Kootenay Ice searching for billet families for 2017-18 season

Kootenay Ice searching for billet families for 2017-18 season

Team continuing to accept applications for community members seeking to give players a home

The Kootenay Ice are looking for local community members to consider opening up their homes to players for the upcoming hockey season.

The Ice have had an open call for billet families since the middle of July and have continued to push the message on social media in recent weeks.

According to the team’s website, “billet families play a critical role in the growth and development of Ice players and often players form a lifelong relationship with their billet family.”

In order to register to become a billet family, community members are asked to fill out an application on the team’s website on their “become a billet” page.

According to the team’s manager of hockey operations and player experience, Jake Heisinger, families who take in players have a vital role in their life and career.

“It’s very important. It’s one of those things where you’re a young kid and you’re spending a lot of your time away from your family, it makes it a lot easier when you’re welcomed in by another family,” Heisinger said. “Although you’re away from home, it doesn’t feel like [it].”

Heisinger said last week that they have received several applications and that they were currently working through the evaluation process.

“We’re coming up on about a month now when training camp starts,” he said. “It’s going well. Every [family] I’ve spoken to and [general manager] Matt [Cockell] has spoken to, have been great.”

In addition to being a great experience for the players, Heisinger believes that it is just as valuable for the families.

“I think that building a relationship with [a player] is something that goes a long way,” he said. “I can’t speak for all the billets, but I think [they] see a different side of [the sport] that the billet families appreciate.

“They welcome [a player] as one of their own and they go through the ups and downs with them. I think it’s a great experience for the families as well, just like it is for the players.”

Kootenay Ice training camp is expected to begin at the end of August, with the first regular season game of the year taking place on September 22 at Western Financial Place.