Billet families play an important role in the lives of Hurricanes players. Local families open up their homes and personal lives to our players each season and partake in a vast array of festivities throughout the year. Billet families work hard to ensure that our players integrate into the community smoothly and comfortably while reducing the stress of moving to a new city and being away from their families. This translates into hard work, dedication, and success on the ice, both at games and at practices.
Playing an important role in our organization, each week we would like to introduce you to our billet families.
Fans, meet the Klempnauer’s!
Kendra (billet mom), Jens (billet dad), Greyson (billet brother), Emery (billet sister), and Skylar (billet dog), would be entering their third season as a billet family. Their first season they were home to Nolan Jones and Jacob Boucher, then housed Alex Thacker and Trevor Thurston for the 2019-2020 season.
Between work, school, and daycare, the Klempnauer’s have a busy household. Greyson is six-years-old and Emery is four, and the family has always had players who were still high school students. Kendra says, “most days I feel like our mornings are quite chaotic. We sometimes feel bad that it is so busy, but the boys have always just adapted quickly. We have always had high school kids so the boys leave the house by 7:45,” grabbing a snack or quick breakfast to start their day. However, through all the chaos the players adapt while Greyson and Emery “think of the boys as their brothers and are so proud to tell everyone that they have Hurricanes living at their house.”
We had to know, what’s it like having Alex and Trevor at home? Kendra says, “there are always some mini-stick games happening in the house, hot tubbing and watching movies, and the odd game of NHL or Mario Kart on the Xbox. Alex also went to Greyson’s power skating. We really try and have the boys be a part of our everyday life, as they do become our family. Alex and Trevor went to Greyson’s Christmas concert, which Greyson was pretty proud of.”
Alex and Trevor will go to the rink after school and are back home around 4:30. In true teenager fashion, they raid the pantry for snacks then unwind from their day before settling in for supper with Kendra, Jens, Greyson, and Emery. “We usually always try and have supper together, depending on their schedule and ours. It’s a great way to check in on their day and just chat. After supper, the boys hang out with our kids, usually a game of mini sticks, or colouring with Emery, or playing Nintendo.”
Kendra says game days are pretty routine, “the boys head to school in the morning and then go to the rink for a skate. They come home, have a quick lunch, and then rest. We try really hard to keep the house quiet, and the kids know that and tiptoe around. I usually have their pre-game meals ready in the morning if we are working; otherwise, I have it ready for 2:00pm which consists of fettuccine alfredo and chicken, or chicken and rice and green beans or broccoli. Alex is like clockwork, and I know he will have eaten by 3:30pm and out the door by 3:50pm no later! Trevor just goes with the flow. We let them chose what they would like to eat after the game and have that ready. Our family usually attends all the home games.”
With Alex from Fort Saskatchewan, AB and Trevor from Delta, BC their families are not able to be in Lethbridge as often as families from Lethbridge, or Calgary. So, it’s important for billets to develop strong bonds with their billet son’s families, and Kendra agrees. “I think it’s very important to get to know your billet son’s family. We really enjoy our visits with them when they come to town to watch, and go out for supper. We make sure they know they are always welcome to come over to hang out. When the hockey season is happening, we usually communicate with their parents several times a week. It’s just a great way to check-in. Over the summer break, we have kept in contact with both families. We enjoy the updates and getting pictures. Alex and his sister came down for a visit, we had a great time and it was so nice to catch up. Jacob and his mom came down for a visit as well and we also had a great visit with them.”
Read on to read more about the Klempnauer’s!
Do you have any traditions, fun facts, celebrations, etc. with your billet?
We celebrate their first WHL goal with an ice cream cake and their favourite meal. But then this has led to having a treat every time they score a goal. We celebrate their birthdays if they are here with us, otherwise, we send a birthday package with all their favourite things. At Christmas time we have a stocking waiting for them which they open on Boxing Day when they return from their break. Depending on schedules, we carve pumpkins, celebrate Thanksgiving, and the boys have attended Christmas concerts.
Is there a favourite meal in your household?
I have never really had any complaints but Alex says that his favourite is chicken enchiladas, or he requests burgers or anything cooked on the smoker. I found out really quickly what they don’t like, even though they tell me they will eat whatever. Nolan once picked out all the mushrooms and tomatoes from the spaghetti sauce, which led to our son thinking that he also doesn’t like mushrooms or tomatoes!
Is there anything you have to keep stocked in the pantry that you normally wouldn’t?
Goldfish crackers for Alex and Gatorade. Trevor eats Frosted Flakes like they are going out of style, usually at 9:30 at night he will stroll into the pantry for a snack. We always have a ton of chicken breast, granola bars, protein bars, fruit snacks, yogurt, and I usually have some baking for them, they usually request muffins and cookies.
What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a billet?
It’s a big commitment, and it can be a rollercoaster at times, but very rewarding. It is an honour to have them in our home. We wouldn’t change it for the world. These boys become a part of our family and you really care about them. The hardest part is always the end of the season when we have to say goodbye. We miss them so much when they go home. There are always a few tears shed as they drive away.
We are truly grateful to have the boys stay with us and become such a big part of our lives.