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Becoming A Billet

When junior hockey players from across Canada and the United States are successful in becoming a member of the Winkler Flyers, they are placed with families within Winkler, Morden and the surrounding communities. These families play an integral part in the player’s support network both off and on the ice.  Having a supportive and stable home environment that provides the players with the means for nutritious meals, a private, safe bedroom/space to sleep and rejuvenate as well as laundry facilities, are the basic building blocks to setting these young men up for the excitement and hard work that is required to thrive in the MJHL.

For most of our players, this may be their first time away from home.  Billet families are encouraged to connect with players’ families to make the transition to their new home away from home a smooth one.  Many families request their players to remain with them for multiple years should they remain with the team.  The bonds created often result in lifelong relationships post hockey.

The Winkler Flyers organization assists with some food cost coverage via a monthly Gift card provided by one of major partners, Winkler/Morden Co-op.  This will NOT always cover the full months food cost for the player.  Water usage, Wi-Fi, electricity, cable/tv are NOT covered by the Flyers organization.  Excessive usage should be discussed on the player coming into your home and guidelines provided at that time. The Flyers organization will not be responsible for covering or paying for players outstanding telephone or other bills.

The Winkler Flyers require all our billet families to meet and maintain the high standards established by the organization. Our players and billet families/players families are community ambassadors of the Winkler Flyers. Our players are constant representatives of the Winkler Flyers and are expected to conduct themselves as such.

Billet Family Responsibilities

  • Furnished Bedroom
  • Nutritious, high caloric meals
  • Maintain open communication with their player(s).  All questions/concerns regarding the player should be directed as per the Billet Manual
  • Establishing boundaries/house rules and enveloping the player into your family is of utmost importance.

Billet Family Benefits

  • A Family membership so that all your family can come to games for free
  • Several social functions with the team.
  • Co-op gift card per month to offset food/meal costs
  • The amazing and rewarding experience of having a Winkler Flyer stay in your home; building memories and relationships that last a lifetime!

Contact the Winkler Flyers Billet Coordinator, April Mickelson at [email protected] for more information!

Thank you for considering being a part of the Winkler Flyers organization and becoming a billet family!!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How long does a billet player stay?
Typically, a player is assigned a billet family at the end of training camp each August.  MJHL hockey has set trade deadlines throughout the year; therefore, your player may with your family for as short a time as a few weeks or, in most cases, until the end of the hockey season in March with playoffs continuing into April.  Returning players may decide with their billet families to return sooner than this. Co-op gift cards are calculated by the number of days the player was active with the team and not based on their initial arrival in Winkler.

What is the host family NOT required to supply?
While we ask for players to receive nutritious meals and snack options, billet families are not required to supply additional muscle/training supplements/powders or training related items. (Ex. protein drinks, vitamins).

What is expected out of the player?
The player is expected to help their billet family around the house (mowing grass, shovelling snow, washing their dishes, doing their laundry, keeping rooms tidy etc.).  Players are directed to always communicate with their billet families (texting when they will be late for meals or making you aware of when team building activities are scheduled) to ensure that scheduling of household events remain smooth.  We encourage you to incorporate your player into your family’s routine!

What happens if our family leaves for travel while the player is with us?
Billet families and the player(s) are responsible to communicate in advance all necessary housekeeping/travel plans to ensure the player(s) schedule and performance can be maintained. Players may remain in the home alone if the billet family approves or other arrangements can be made to house and provide meals for the billet while the family is away. Please contact the Billet Coordinator to provide contact numbers and dates your family will be away during the season.

Am I required to provide a hot pregame cooked meal?
We encourage players to communicate with their billet family to find out what method works the best for everyone involved. Whether the player(s) cooking for themselves, the billet family cooking, or warming up meals; we ask the billet families to develop a routine that works for your household.  Meal prep and cooking are valuable life skills for your players to participate in.

We are terribly busy and aren’t home a lot during the day and evening, due to our work and kids’ schedules. Can we still billet?We ask that when you consider being a billet family, you understand you are bringing a player into your home and treating them as one of your own. The player’s day is highly routine with daily practices, dry land training, team bonding activities, chapel, attending school, assisting with minor hockey practices, volunteering for Breakfast Club and attending community appearances (ie.reading week in local schools, marketing promos).  This leaves smaller pockets for downtime and for some part time or casual employment.

What happens if we take a billet, and it just does not work out for our family?
Making the billeting experience fun and rewarding for all parties is our utmost goal. If at anytime you feel that you are not able to continue your commitment to billeting, family responsibilities change, or your family and your player are not a good fit; PLEASE contact the Billet Coordinator ASAP!!!  These things happen…life happens! The Billet Coordinator is your liaison between your household and the organization.  The Billet Coordinator is always prepared to assist in moderating difficult situations, finding alternative accommodations, and providing support to our billet families. Without YOU we have no team!!

Whether single, married, a young family, lonely in your empty nest or enjoying your retirement; if billeting is something you may wish to get involved with, we would love to hear from you and answer any outstanding questions!!!

Contact the Winkler Flyers Billet Coordinator – April Mickelson at [email protected] for more information on billeting!

BECOMING A BILLET STORIES