As the Steele County Blades junior hockey team prepares for its upcoming season, they are still seeking billet families to host an out-of-town players. The season begins in September with players reporting to Owatonna around Labor Day.

The team offers some great reasons to host a player and what responsibilities the family and player have to each other. In a flyer prepared by the Blades, they offer a Q & A for interested families.

Why host a Blades player?

"Hosting is a great opportunity to make a difference in a young man's life. If also allows billet families to be part of a strong hockey community. Players serve as role models to younger billet siblings and are encouraged to partake in family activities."

I personally know of a number of billet families who have remained in touch with players they hosted years earlier. Families continue to follow the career of that player and travel to see them play. It becomes a lifetime connection, not just a hockey season.

What does a billet family need to provide?

"Billet families provide a room with a bed, nutritious meal options, wifi internet connection, and most importantly, a supportive environment for a young athlete who is training to achieve his goals at the rink and in the classroom."

Think about it. Host families will be the people the player comes home to after a game, good or bad. That puts some responsibility on the billets to help players deal with the ups and downs of the season.

Players will need housing from late August through March. There is a $300 per month per player stipend for billets to help offset the cost of food and lodging. Some families have the ability to host more than one player.

Billet families receive a season ticket for each person in their home. Blades' players are required to be enrolled in school or hold a job during the season. The Blades play in the United States Premier Hockey League, a league designed to prepare players for college hockey. Players are 16-20 years old.

For more information contact Mike or Marge Steinbauer at 507-456-4960 or mmsteinbauer@yahoo.com.

Submitted by Youth 1st