Throughout our years in the NAHL, the Brahmas organization would not be able to function without our billet families, giving our players a home while they develop as athletes. Each week, we will be highlighting one of our wonderful billet families to recognize the hard work and support they give to our team each season. Join us in celebrating the unsung heroes of junior hockey.
Name: The Raynsford Family
How long have you been a billet?
Why did you become a billet?
We wanted to grow our family since we don’t have children of our own. We feel so privileged to be a part of the boys’ journey to college and beyond.
Do you have a favorite billeting memory?
My favorite memory would have to be the boys winning the Robby on Mother’s Day. I got to be there with them in Duluth. That same year, our player from Slovakia did a good luck Easter ritual with me that they do to women with water and a broom. I was the only woman in the house, so it was down to me. It still makes me laugh to think about, but it must have worked. They won it all that year.
What is your favorite part of the billeting experience?
We love going to their games, and proudly being able to say that we are the billet parents of THREE of the players. We love dinners together every night as a family. We stay in touch with all the boys and that has been such fun to see where they go–to college and beyond.
If you’ve been a billet for multiple seasons, do you still keep in contact with previous billet players?
We are still in touch with almost all of our billets over the last seven years. Most of them are still playing hockey either in college or professionally. When you get a birthday, Mother’s and Father’s Day texts and calls from around the world, it’s incredibly special!
Do you have any advice for billet parents?
Get to know the boys’ parents and learn their expectations for the boys at their home. It will make the transition easier. It’s a delicate balance between spending family time with them and making sure they bond with their teammates–but be sure you spend that quality time with them. Don’t be afraid to give them a chore or two around the house. It’s a family; not a hotel. LOVE them like they are your own.
If you could say something to a family on the fence about billeting, what would you say?
Every day is not easy, but raising your own kids isn’t a picnic either. These kids have reached this level because they are the best in their sport and they have the highest goals for themselves. They either are trying to get or already have Division I scholarships, so they are not likely to be too difficult. They become your family members pretty quickly, and not only do you gain the boys and their families, but you also get the billets for friends and support. It’s the best thing Brian and I have ever done.
If you’d like more information about becoming a billet, please visit www.lonestarbrahmas.com/billet-families or email our billet coordinator, Sydney Johnson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.