From Left: Billets Kim McCoy, Wrangler Kevin Fillier, Rhonda Williamson, Sandy Craig, Tammy and Shane Mikkelsen and Wranglers Riley Coish and Travis Gook enjoy dinner together. The Wranglers are looking for billet families for the 2017-2018 season. Submitted photo.

Wranglers in need of billet families

“We’re super desperate this year”

The 100 Mile House Wranglers are on the search for billet families for the hockey players.

“We get about 25 players come every year that need to be found a home,” says Kim McCoy, billet co-ordinator.

The players arrive around Labour Day weekend and stay until February, or whenever the playoffs end.

“We’re super desperate this year,” says McCoy. The time crunch created by the evacuations and a loss of some long-standing billet families has left the organization searching for families.

Hosting a hockey player comes with compensation and a season ticket to the Wrangler’s games.

“It’s great. I’ve done it myself for years. It’s very enjoyable and they become part of your family,” says McCoy.

“Even when we had the fires, every single one of my billets called me and said are you okay?” she says. “Even after four years, they’ve gone and done a lot of things but you still keep in touch and that’s cool.”

McCoy says that players are supposed to fit into the family — not act as guests in your home.

“They are good kids. They enjoy integrating into the community,” she says.

While McCoy has hosted players for the past four years, she says she would have enjoyed doing it while her three hockey-playing children were still young.

“Younger players look up to the Wranglers so much. They see a Wrangler they go crazy over the Wrangler, so if I had young kids I think it would be really cool to have that role model staying with you, like a big brother kind of thing.”

The Wranglers usually fall between the ages of 17 to 19. Some are still high-school students when they arrive in 100 Mile House, but McCoy says they are generally self-sufficient.

“All you need is a bed, a bathroom and some food in the fridge.”

Some of McCoy’s highlights include hosting Brevin Gervais this year as well as celebrating Kristian Stead’s success in Saskatchewan as the Canadian Junior Hockey League goaltender of the year.

If you are interested in hosting a player, or just want to know more, McCoy says she welcomes any questions. She can be reached at 250-395-8085 or by email at kamccoy@shaw.ca.

Overall, McCoy says the experience is worthwhile.

“Just being part of the Wranglers — it’s like you have your own kid on the ice so it’s really exciting that way.”