Players in the North American Hockey League come from all corners of the United States and even around the globe. Last year, the Pilots alone had players from Canada, Sweden, and Denmark, with many others in the league from other countries. When those players arrive in Topeka, they need a place to live during the eight month season.
This is where host families, or billets, come in. Billets are providing one of the most vital parts of the players’ time in Topeka – a stable living environment while they chase their dream of playing ice hockey at the collegiate and professional levels.
Billet families invite Pilots players into their homes to be a part of their family. 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 for the younger siblings in their home away from home.
A vital factor is being able to assign players to billet families who serve as authority figures, role models, and an extended family to their player. The efforts of the billet families make a significant difference in the lives of the young men who have left their homes, and own families, to pursue their dream of playing collegiate hockey. The benefit derived from placing the players with a great billet family is truly immeasurable.
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 Topeka, 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 them to their weddings!
We are grateful that so many of our Pilots families are willing to open their home to host Topeka Pilots players. Billet families are one of the most important parts of our organization, and without their efforts our club would not be successful!
The management and staff of the Topeka Pilots greatly appreciate those considering serving as a billet family for the upcoming season.