Families (Host Families) who open their homes and hearts to Ontario Jr Reign student-athletes play a vital role in our success on and off the ice. Host families, also known as Billet Families, enable our student-athletes to pursue their dreams by providing them with a place to live and creating an environment they can thrive physically, academically, and emotionally. All that is required is a willingness to help a student-athlete by providing a home away from home. Meanwhile, the essential values and principles to become a successful member of the Ontario Jr Reign will come from the rink, the home, school, and the community.
A successful hosting and billeting experience is rewarding for both the Host Family and the student-athlete as you both form a unique connection that lasts a lifetime. Host Families and their student-athletes often stay in contact long after they finish playing. Any student-athlete who has played away from home will tell you that some of their fondest memories include their Host Families and vice versa!
The Ontario Jr. Reign belongs to the Pacific Division of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), which operates in 24 of the 50 United States. The league is currently the largest amateur ice hockey league in the United States. The USPHL has more than 600 teams with athletes in the USPHL Premier who are 16 to 21 years of age. Overall, the USPHL has had over 2,500 athletes advance to the collegiate level and NHL.
The Ontario Jr. Reign General Manager Tomas Kapusta and President Ben Frank established the Ontario Jr. Reign in the USPHL as a natural extension of the Jr. Reign youth hockey club - the official youth hockey club for the professional AHL hockey team Ontario Reign and proud affiliate of the NHL Los Angeles Kings. The introduction of these high-performance Tier 1 and Tier 2 programs gives athletes a unique opportunity to play high-level junior hockey in California while preparing them for a collegiate career.
Each spring and summer, athletes from throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe compete for the opportunity to play for the Ontario Jr Reign. Student-athletes, ages 16-20, that are selected for a team need a place to call home during the season.
Student-athletes arrive in Southern California in mid to late August and will stay through the end of the hockey season in mid-March. High School student-athlete may stay through the end of the school year to continue their education and off-season training.
What is a host family/billet family?
Hosting, or “billeting”, is a hockey tradition. From youth players in Canada to junior players in the United States, to the AHL, and the NHL, the billeting tradition has helped many student-athletes get acclimated to their new cities, schools, and teams. Host families from the local community provide student-athletes the opportunity to pursue their dreams in a supportive and nurturing environment.
The role of a billet family is instrumental in providing a complete junior hockey experience for these student-athletes. Our student-athletes are here in search of their dream to play hockey at the collegiate and professional levels. This would not be possible without the support and generosity of our host families. Host families provide structure, authority and become an extended family for these student-athletes, thus providing an ideal environment for them to remain focused and compelled to achieve.
Hosting an Ontario Jr Reign athlete is a great experience, whether you have a house full of kids or live alone. Our student-athletes can help host families with weekly tasks associated with younger family members.
They will bring energy and excitement to your home, and you will get to know a great group of parents and families that are part of our unique organization.
Host Family Expectations
Our coaching staff works hard at identifying student-athletes with not only hockey talent, but strong moral and ethical values as well. You should expect the student-athlete to be respectful and helpful in your presence and in your home.
The Billet Coordinator along with the coaching staff try to make the best fit with a family as possible (i.e. kids, pets, allergies, etc.). It’s a good idea to touch base with the student-athletes parents and establish a relationship with them to gain an understanding of what is expected of their son.
When a student-athlete arrives at your home, it is important that they know the house rules. Clearly define your expectations and ask the student-athlete for his expectations of you and your home.
- Provide a furnished room for the student-athlete or a furnished room to share with another teammate (not any other household member)
- Provide nutritious meals for the student-athlete or have food on hand that the student-athlete can prepare on his own. You are not expected to cook all the meals for the student-athlete, but you are expected to have the food available so they can make meals for themselves
- Allow the student-athlete to use amenities in the home such as Internet, TV, washer, dryer, etc…
- Comply with USPHL Hockey screening requirements
- Provide a clean, family atmosphere for the student-athlete
- Transportation is to be provided by the student-athlete(s), but this is not possible for international student-athlete. If transportation is not available from the billet family, the student-athlete will arrange for a ride(s).
- Respect the student-athlete. They will be experiencing all kinds of different emotions while being away from home. For some of these young adults, this will be their first time away from home. The student-athlete needs their own ‘space’; however, they also require reinforcement, trust, and encouragement from their Billets. The rule of thumb is to provide the same kind of care and attention that you would extend to a member of your own family.
- Student-athletes are considered “one of the family”. So, we ask that the host family provide structure for the student-athlete by creating “home rules” and helping enforce team rules relating to curfew, visitors, and standards of behavior.
Some things that should be discussed and agreed upon with your student-athlete(s)
- The use and care of appliances
- The upkeep and cleanliness of common areas in the house and identify any areas that are out of bounds (i.e. home office, liquor storage)
- Rules and usage of computer and internet
- Your refrigerator and food rules should be clearly defined. Ask your student-athlete for any food preferences and allergies to establish suitable eating arrangements
- You are not expected to provide ‘junk food’
- Billets are not expected to wait up for the student-athlete
- Student-athletes are not to be used as childcare providers. Any arrangements made in this area should be clearly discussed with the student-athlete and mutually agreeable. Student-athletes are not ‘Built-In Babysitters’
- Do not lend money to your student-athlete. If you do it is at your own risk.
- Student-athletes do most of their own laundry. Your willingness to help out with small loads is much appreciated but not expected
- The duties and household chores you expect your billet to perform should be clearly defined and within reason. The student-athletes are expected to help out with household chores and are expected to keep their living areas clean (bedroom, bathroom, etc.)
Each household operates differently and hopefully mutually agreeable arrangements can be made. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open. Should problems arise, or situations that make you feel uncomfortable, please feel free to contact the Billet Coordinator.
- Keep in mind that it is not a right to live at a billet’s home but a privilege.
- Always project a positive image of yourself and your team.
- Have their own spending money for day-to-day expenses.
- Supply your own personal hygiene products (i.e. toothpaste, shampoo, etc)
- student-athletes must notify the billet family regarding their whereabouts and are expected to follow all curfews and to advise their billet family if they will be out late.
- Sleepovers with partners are not permitted. Overnight guests must be approved by the billet family.
- Report concerns with their Billet Family to the Billet Coordinator as well as to their parents.
- Advise their Billet Families of their team practice and game schedule.
- Show respect and consideration towards all family members.
- If any house rules are broken, the student-athlete may be released from the team.
- Provide their own bed and bath linens, personal care items, cell phones, and computers.
- Provide for their own transportation unless arrangements have been made with the billet family.
- Take care of their room, including keeping it clean and doing their own laundry.
- Notify the host family of their whereabouts and stay in the billet home each night unless traveling with the team.
- Seek part-time employment or take high school or college courses in their free time.
Host families will receive a monthly monetary stipend to offset expenses incurred by hosting, but the real benefit to host families is the lasting relationships formed with these young student-athletes and their families.
- Billet Families with receive a monthly stipend
- Payments are made by the student-athlete or their family
- Method of Payment will be provided to you by the Billet Coordinator
- Payments are due on the 1st and NO LATER THAN the 5th of each month for the current month
- Season Tickets for Home Games (Immediate Family)
To inquire about becoming an Ontario Jr Reign host family, please email us or complete the host family application on our website. A member of our staff will be in touch with you as soon as possible.
Disputes and disagreements
The key to a successful billeting experience is GOOD COMMUNICATION. This means with all parties involved; Billets, student-athletes, Parents, Billet Coordinator, and Coaches. If problems arise, they should be addressed immediately. Your first contact should be the Billet Coordinator. The Billet Coordinator will try to resolve the issue quickly and may get the coaches involved if need be. Please respect this ‘Chain Of Command’ as our coaching staff is usually very busy throughout the year.
To inquire about becoming an Ontario Jr Reign host family, please email us at email@example.com or complete the form on this page. A member of our staff will be in touch with you as soon as possible.