Host a Player

What is a Billet Family?

Many people would not know the meaning of the word “Billet” unless you are involved with a Junior Hockey program. Billeting is a great way to meet people and to touch a young person’s life.

Host (Billet) families provide a home away from home for our young athletes. Players on the Great Falls Americans team are between the ages of 16 and 20. For many of the players, this will be their first time away from home and they will need a stable living environment for their move to the area. They are away from their family and friends, so their host families become their surrogate family. While the billet families receive some monetary compensation, the real rewards are in the lasting relationships that are formed.

Living with a host (billet) family is a very important time in the lives of the player, coming into your lives at an early age, impressionable age and leaving as young men. The players arrive from all over the United States and World at the beginning of September and will be here until the end of the hockey season at the end of March or early April. Players are not “renters” and are expected to become “one of the family.”

Host families provide room and board for the player. Players are to have their own bedroom and have meals and snacks available for him to prepare or for the hosts to prepare for the player. If you choose to house multiple players, they may share a room, providing them with their own, separate beds. We have team guidelines and policies players must abide by to be within our organization. A copy of these will be provided to you upon your acceptance to become a host family. Our host families are an integral part of upholding and enforcing these team rules. All host family house rules will need to be communicated to the player when he arrives and discussed with the biological families. A host family handbook is provided to assist in this communication. The organization takes pride in providing this strong foundation for the players.

Among some of the benefits of becoming a host family:

• Each host family is paid a monthly stipend to house a player in their home of $300.00 per month per each player housed.

• Host families, players, and the player’s family develop very special bonds and remain close long after the player has left the Americans organization. We try to make it possible to make sure that this experience is a rewarding one for both the player(s) and the host families.

Billeting is a long standing tradition in hockey, and is a vital part of the team’s success.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact our Billet Coordinator, Patrick Holtzmann, at 701-610-3082 or email him at pjholtzmann@gmail.com or Alternate Billing Coordinator at 406-564-5599 or email her at nanapsmokey@yahoo.com.

Thank you for choosing to be a billet family. We look forward to a great season.


2022-23 GF Americans Billet Family Expectations:

(PLEASE READ) PRINTABLE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BILLET EXPECTATIONS (GUIDEBOOK/REGULATIONS): You can also download the 2022-23 GF Americans Billet Family Expectations Document (PDF/Printable Version), by clicking below.


Billet Family: Requirements & Benefits

HOUSING FAMILY REQUIREMENTS:

  • Desire to support the local Great Falls Americans Junior A hockey team
  • Reside in a reasonable distance from the Great Falls Ice Plex
  • Demonstrate well-balanced, family-oriented lifestyle
  • Provide physically comfortable housing and a  supportive environment for our hockey players

HOUSING FAMILY BENEFITS

  • A monthly housing stipend of $300 to help offset costs
  • An opportunity of building a relationship with a young man attempting to reach his goals and dreams in sports and education

NOTE: There may be instances where the player and family match are NOT optimal. The organization will be proactive to address these situations and they will find a solution to ensure that both the host family and player have positive outcomes for everyone involved in the billet program.


Billet Families/Players: What to Do/What Not to Do

BILLET FAMILY:

  • Establish a set of guidelines early on so the player knows what is expected of them.
  • Find out what types of foods the player likes to eat and understand the nutritional requirements of an elite athlete.
  • Understand a player’s practice and game schedule to plan mealtime.
  • Respect a player’s privacy and need for independence.
  • Create an open line of communication with the player’s parents.
  • Make the player feel comfortable, not only in your home but in your community.
  • Be a good listener if a player is stressed about playing time, team issues, homesickness, etc.
  • Take an interest in player’s season and go to games whenever possible.

BILLET PLAYER:

  • Obey all house and team rules.
  • Know what is expected and acceptable in billet family’s house.
  • Be respectful of your new surroundings. After all, you are a guest in someone else’s house.
  • Don’t take things for granted. Just because something may be acceptable in your own house doesn’t mean it is acceptable with your billet family.
  • Be willing to participate in family activities where appropriate.
  • Players need to care for their own belongings: Laundry, ironing, dishes and clean after themselves
  • Serve as a positive role model for younger children in billet family.
  • Be willing to communicate with billet family.
  • Don’t take out your problems on the billet family.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a billet family?

Each season, the Americans  coaching staff recruits talented young hockey players to play on our Junior hockey team. For some of these players to take advantage of the opportunity to play on our team, the players require a billet family to open their home. For many of our players, this may be their first time away from home and require a stable living environment for their move to continue their hockey path.

Are billet families paid?

A pre-established fee of $300 per player per month is paid to the billet family. This helps with additional household expenses, especially groceries.

What is expected of the host family?

The player needs a room of their own or they can share with a teammate. They will need a bed and closet space. The players must be self-sufficient and clean, cook, and pick up after themselves. The family is NOT required to cook for the player(s) but can welcome the players to meals being cooked by the family (when available). Players will need to eat on their own when host family is unavailable.

Can a host family host more than one player?

Yes. Two players can share transportation expenses, and often provide company for one another. The only requirement is that each player has adequate space/living arrangements. Each player is expected to have his own bed, closet or dresser.

What is expected of the players?

Your generosity as a host family WILL NOT be taken for granted. The hosted player will need to adhere to all team and house rules and respect and show consideration toward ALL family members.

What is the schedule like for the GF Americans players?

The Americans follow a structured schedule where they practice almost every day and have scheduled workouts. Some players may be attending school or university classes, hold part-time jobs, or volunteer at community events. The team has a set curfew that all players are expected to follow. The coaching staff will routinely check in on players to ensure that curfew will be followed. At the discretion of the coaching staff,  days off may be granted.

Will players join our family for personal events?
You are welcome to invite players to join you for family celebrations or activities; however, it is not mandatory for you to do so. All players will have time off during the holidays and might have arrangements to go home to their family.

We are very busy and aren’t home a lot during the day and evening, due to our work and kids’ schedules. Can we still billet?

Absolutely. All players will have busy schedules between practice, workouts, film, job/school, and community service. Players aren’t reliant on families for transportation, generally speaking. Players will carpool with their teammates to and from hockey functions whenever possible. Clear communication between the player and billets is key to creating the best environment possible for everyone.

How long is a host family’s commitment?

This varies depending on the player; most are with the family during the hockey season which operates from September to the end of March. Players still in high-school often stay with their billet family until the school year is over in late May. Throughout the season players try to go home for the weekend as often as the game schedule permits and every player will go home over the holiday breaks (unless they are from a different country and are unable to make it home). Families receive a ($300.00) monthly billeting payment for each player. Some families find it easier to house two players as they travel with the team together and are company for each other. Host families include two-parent families, single-parent families and “empty-nesters.”

The only thing that is really needed is a willingness to help a player pursue his dream by providing a “Home away from home.”  Your willingness to rise up and help these young athletes achieve their goals and aspirations of one day making the professional ranks will be an everlasting experience. By sharing your home and families, the relationship a billet family will build is immeasurable to the player, organization, and community.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact our Billet Coordinator, Patrick Holtzmann, at 701-610-3082 or email him at pjholtzmann@gmail.com or Alternate Billing Coordinator at 406-564-5599 or email her at nanapsmokey@yahoo.com.

Thank you for choosing to be a billet family. We look forward to a great 2022-23 hockey season.

Click here to serve as a Billet Family for the Great Falls Americans.


2022-23 GF Americans Billet Family Expectations:

(PLEASE READ) PRINTABLE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BILLET EXPECTATIONS: You can also download the 2022-23 GF Americans Billet Family Expectations Document (PDF/Printable Version), by clicking below.


2022-23 GF Americans Press Release:

Press Release: July 19, 2022: Americans hockey searching for billet families for 2022-23 


Testimonials

COMING SOON!!!


 

The Need for Billet Families

August 6, 2019: Great Falls local ABC/FOX Montana television station featured the Great Falls Americans in their Community Spotlight series as ABC/FOX Montana reporter Taylor Tucker interviewed Great Falls Americans Head Coach/General Manager Greg Sears about the need for billet families. Watch the video below:

 

August 6, 2019: ABC/FOX Montana (KFBB): Community Spotlight: Great Falls Americans (Billet Families) Read Article