In junior hockey, it’s frequent for the teenage gamers to pack their baggage and depart the household dwelling at a younger age to play the sport.
It could actually’t be straightforward for them and it will possibly’t be straightforward for folks, however on the opposite finish within the junior metropolis is a household opening its doorways to those athletes. Billeting is a staple within the sport.
Edmonton’s Bev and Frank Gardner have been followers of the Oil Kings for years, so with their children grown and out of the home, they figured why not host these kids.
The 2 simply wrapped up their fourth season as billets.
“The second that they stroll via your door they’re a part of your loved ones,” Bev stated. “They’re identical to your individual son.
“You’re all the time giving them help, encouragement and, like I say, you need to see them develop and be the perfect person who they are often, on and off the ice,” she stated.
The Gardners have hosted 4 totally different Oil Kings gamers of their time: Kobe Mohr, Aidan Lawson, this yr’s captain Scott Atkinson, and Belarusian import participant Vladimir Alistrov.
However their open door coverage has ensured they know many of the gamers.
“It doesn’t actually matter if it’s our billet or any of the opposite boys come, we nonetheless deal with them as in the event that they’re all the identical,” Frank stated.
“We’ve all the time stated to them…our home is your own home,” Bev stated. “I’ll simply say, ‘You already know I’ve acquired further steaks, would you like among the boys to return dwelling from apply?’ It doesn’t take a lot encouragement.”
The bonds inbuilt a billet dwelling are exhausting to explain; the hosts see the highs and lows of a hockey participant’s junior profession and construct bonds that may final a lifetime.
“Simply being round these younger guys it truly is simply enjoyable,” stated Frank. “It’s exhausting to clarify.”
“To see their progress and improvement from after they first arrive,” stated Bev. “This is occurring our fourth yr with Scott [Atkinson], to look again and see his maturity and… their decision-making expertise.
“Simply seeing them undergo these life experiences and being there to help them, it simply fills your coronary heart.”
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