A few good homes are still needed to help house Collingwood Blues players for the 2021/22 season.
Susie Saunderson is the volunteer billet co-ordinator for the Collingwood Blues, and is a member of their executive. For the upcoming season, Saunderson says she’s still in need of homes for between four and five players, who are slated to arrive in town after Labour Day.
“It’s really about... welcoming someone into your home and being a part of their journey,” said Saunderson. “It’s about mentorship.”
Saunderson and her husband, Mayor Brian Saunderson, have hosted eight players over the last three years, with plans to take in more this season.
The couple decided to offer their home as a host family as their three sons are now grown and have moved away.
“Our town has long been a hockey town. Our three boys played rep hockey, so we spent a lot of time in arenas watching our boys and cheering them on,” she said. “We had a couple of quiet years but we missed the energy and excitement of going to the games.”
“It’s nice to be part of their journey,” she said.
The Collingwood Blues is a Junior ‘A’ team based in Collingwood that was established in 2019. The team’s roster includes players from around Ontario between the ages of 16 and 20 years old.
Incoming players will need homes starting Labour Day weekend, and lasting until the end of May at the latest. The season length depends on the team’s performance in post-season games.
Host families receive $500 per player, per month in compensation as well as season tickets to home games. Hosts are responsible for providing a room and food and homes must be smoke-free, but the players arrange their own transportation for training, practice and travel as a team to games.
“The boys really like to live with another player, if that’s possible,” said Saunderson.
For more information on the billeting process, reach out to Saunderson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With files from Erika Engel