The Trail Smoke Eaters will be suiting up next week to kick off another BCHL campaign amid concerns their won’t be enough rooms to house its players.
The Smoke Eaters are in desperate need of billet families to host out-of-town Smokie players before the opening of the upcoming hockey season Sept. 7.
“It has come to a stand still,” says Smoke Eater president Tom Gawryletz. “I think as of yesterday we’re still short seven billet families.”
Players are expected to perform on and off the ice and be role models in the community, and billet parents are an integral part of that development.
“I know there are a lot of people away, we understand that. But it’s no different than every other August, it’s just that this year we’re a little further behind the eight-ball than normal.”
The Smoke Eaters lost a few long-time billets and have had trouble replacing them, said Gawryletz. It can be a very rewarding experience, but like raising your own kids, hosting a Smoke Eater requires patience, time, and understanding.
“You have to be a hockey fan, and maybe have kids who are in the game . . . we’ve had minimal trouble over the years, but hey they’re kids.”
In recognition for contributing to the success of the team, billet families will receive a Smoke Eaters billet manual, season tickets for your current household, a monthly stipend, an opportunity to meet the team at an early-season barbecue and other functions.
Players are billeted to the middle of March, but Christmas holidays and travel time reduce that time significantly.
Billet parents are expected to provide a private bedroom, nutritious meals and a caring and friendly home atmosphere.
For more information contact Gawryletz at Remax1@telus.net or billet coordinator Scott McKinnon at 368-5750.