Billet families play huge part of Kingsville Kings

Tate Harris
By Tate Harris December 8, 2017 13:24

Kingsville Kings player picks up pucks during warm-up (Photo by Cody Wall).

By Cody Wall

Of the 23 players on the Kingsville Kings roster, this season 19 of them live with a billet family.

The Kingsville Kings sit in first place of the Greater Metro Hockey League standing, having lost only four of their first 28 games and currently riding a two-game win streak. Their record shows they are a talented group of players and identifies the importance their billet families play. The players who are currently living with a billet family come from as far as Iceland and the Czech Republic.

“I really like living with my billet family. It’s a lot better than living alone because you have someone to cook food and discipline you all day instead of hanging around being a slob,” said Nicolas Jouanne, 20. Jouanne who is from Reykjavik is in his first season with the Kings after playing the past two seasons with the Almaguin Spartans.

Right now, Jouanne and fellow Kingsville Kings player and Czech Republic native Jan Prochazka, 19 live with Harold and Peggy Grant, a retired couple who have been a billet family for the past few seasons for the Kings.

“Our son kept telling us that we should do it because I was going to retire. So he sent us a link and I read it with Harold and we called the coach and we liked what we heard so we said okay and now we’re billets,” said Peggy Grant.

This is the third year the Grants have been a billet family and have billeted 10 different players over the past few years. Some players have had to leave because they were allergic to the family cat. The Grants admit that the end of the season is the hardest part of being a billet family.

“You get really attached to them and then if you don’t get the same guys next year it’s hard because it’s like your kid going off to college and never coming home,” said Grant.

The Kings use social media to find billet families and credit the Kingsville community for playing a huge role in the team.

“We try to find homes that are going to be good quality homes, people that come to the games on a regular basis and provide good quality meals,” said Andy Dowling, president of the Kings.

Dowling’s wife Tara is the billet coordinator and is responsible for finding homes for the Kings’ players.

“She goes and actually checks the homes and gets to see the house and make sure everything is going good and for the most part the community has been really good and they stand behind us,” said Dowling.

Both of the players living with the Grants said living with a billet family is a big part of their lives and is a really important part of the game that is often forgotten.

“It’s very important to live in a nice area and comfort, it’s much better to come home from game and have some food ready and you can eat whenever you want,” said Prochazka.

Tate Harris
By Tate Harris December 8, 2017 13:24

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