By Nicholas Sokic
Special to the Revelstok Review
The Revelstoke Grizzlies are on the hunt for billet families as the team gears up for what might be a promising season with B.C.’s full reopening this September.
Finding families to host the players has proven difficult in the past. The biggest reason for that could actually be unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis.
“The competition for what you can get for just renting a room out to skiers who want to come here seasonally,” said Kevin Dorias, the billeting field coordinator for the Grizzlies. “Because you know, housing shortages being what they are in resort communities, it’s sometimes tough to compete with what that private sector return on investment is.”
This makes finding available homes for billeting tough, as the experience is less a money-making one than it is about building and supporting community.
While there were some families that didn’t host players this past year due to COVID-19 concerns, the long-term impact of the pandemic on the billeting program is one that can only be answered with time, said Dorias. He’s also hopeful the families that opted out last year will return with the new season.
“Without billet homes, hockey in Revelstoke wouldn’t be possible,” said head coach Ryan Parent last September in an interview with the Review.
To those that might be considering billeting, Dorias highlighted the players’ great personalities.
“Having had players in my house, you get a lot back from them as well,” said Dorias. “You get some really neat personalities in your house, they’re helping out around the house. In my case I have quite a big driveway. And oftentimes, I come home and the boys had the driveway done before I even thought about doing it.”
Regardless of how the billeting situation shakes out, it’s safe to say the return of hockey is only a boon for Revelstoke.
“In Revelstoke, we have a high vaccination rate right now. And we’ve got very few cases of COVID,” said Parent. “So things are looking bright, for sport in general. And to get back to our most popular spectator sport and our national sport in full capacity is welcome news.”
The team had an abrupt end to their season last year as COVID-19 numbers surged in January. The Grizzlies won provincial championships in 2018/2019 season and it looked like the team was going to do it again the next year, but the pandemic also cut that season short by March, 2020.
If you would like to sign up to host a player, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.