Southern Tier Xpress Seeking Billet Families

The Southern Tier Xpress NA3HL is looking for local families to house junior hockey players for the 2016-17 season.

The Xpress are ready to take the ice for their third season in Jamestown. As always, the team will have local players, but many of the players leave home to pursue their dream of playing hockey at the next level. In the process, they need a place to call home.

Billet families are the backbone of junior hockey. The billet families are a gift for players. Not only do they open up their homes to the young men, they make them part of their family. Lifelong support and relationships are build that surpass the players’ time spent in the arena. Some players come back and make the region their homes. Billets are the most valuable part of a player’s success.

When a family volunteers to house a member of the team, they are required to provide the player with their own room or area. This includes providing nutritious food that is available for them to prepare for the billets or for the billets to prepare for the player. Billets are expected to treat the players as “one of the family” and not just a renter. The same goes for the player, as for cleaning up after themselves and keeping their room tidy. There are team guidelines and policies that the players must abide by within the organization and the billet families are expected to uphold and enforce these team rules. All billet house rules will need to be communicated to the players when they arrive. Players are responsible for their own transportation and are encouraged to hold a part-time job or attend school.

Billet families receive the support of the coaching staff, housing coordinator and other billet families. Players will be placed with families that best suit their accommodation needs. A monthly stipend will be given to the billet families in return for their housing of an Xpress player. The stipend each month is to help offset additional food and utility expenses of the household.

Players are between the ages of 16 and 20. For many of them, it is their first time away from home, making it essential that they are comfortable with the family they are staying with. There are generally two players per household to limit the strain on those who open their homes. Most players have transportation of their own and if not, they are placed with a player who does. The players arrive mid-August and leave mid-March.

Those interested in becoming a billet family for the 2016-17 season or who would like additional information should contact billet coordinator Amber Smith at 665-9642 or email STXBilleting@gmail.com

Original article by The Post-Journal.