Marta Hughes–Bernard has spent five years as the billet coordinator for the Powassan Voodoos in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
These days she may be getting a little more business than she bargained for as six Voodoo players are staying at her home.
Hughes-Bernard says this is not a new development as there has been a chronic shortage of billet families for Voodoo players.
“Being a billet family for someone, you develop a friendship and those friendships last long after the players have finished here. You meet new families, you grow to have an extended family, so to speak.”
Hughes-Bernard admits families will not financially benefit from billeting players, but the dividends are paid out in different ways.
“My husband and I had never billeted players before. We thought, what the heck, we might as well try, and it has been the most rewarding thing we have ever done. We are so grateful to be a part of it.”
Hughes-Bernard says she runs a tight ship as a “billet mom.”
“I am strict, there are rules, the players must follow them. You can still be strict and still be supportive and be there for them (the players). I want the players to feel like they have a home away from home. If people out there have a lot of love to give and want to invest some time, it is a very worthwhile thing to do.”
The billet boss says host families are vetted beforehand to make certain they are suitable for players.
If you have any interest in taking on a Voodoo player as a billet, contact Marta Hughes-Bernard at (705) 303-2011 after 4 p.m. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The fact that the season has already started is not an issue.