Players in the North American Hockey League come from all corners of the country and around the globe--last year alone the NAHL boasted players from Canada, Poland and Russia, among others--and when they arrive in Bismarck they need a place to live during the season.
This is where host families--or billets--come in, performing the incredibly vital job of providing Bobcat hockey players with a place to live while these young men chase their dream of playing ice hockey at the collegiate and professional levels.
Housing families invite these Bobcat players into their homes to be a part of their family for eight months out of the year. In turn the players, age 16-20, take part in many aspects of normal family life with their billets, from family meals to taking on active "big brother" roles at times with their younger billet brothers and sisters in their homes away from home.
The unique bonds your family will form with the player(s) you house will last a lifetime. It is not uncommon for players, years after their time in the league, to keep in close contact with their former billet family: keeping them informed of their collegiate, professional and family lives and, in many cases, even inviting their former billets to their weddings!
It is easy to become a housing family for Bobcat Hockey, with a few requirements. The Bobcats only ask that you provide daily meals for each player. Housing families are compensated $300 per player per month to cover grocery expenses. Players provide their own transportation and cell phones. In compliance with NAHL rules, all housing families must pass a criminal background check however in everybody’s best interests.
Bobcat players report to Bismarck in late August and stay until the end of the regular season in late March. If the Bobcats qualify for the playoffs--which they have for five consecutive seasons and six of the last eight years, including the Robertson Cup Tournament four of the last five seasons and the national play-in in 2011--the players stay through the end of the postseason and, hopefully, the celebration of their Robertson Cup championship!
The players adhere to a strict set of rules while in Bismarck, rules which are observed at the rink and at home. Family rules are also part of the guidelines for the boys.
Bobcat Hockey is always looking for housing families, both short-term and long-term. If you have questions or you are interested in becoming a housing family, please contact Housing Director Bunny Greig at (701) 663-9324 or Head Coach Layne Sedevie at (701) 222-3300.