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 family. 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 Vanderberg’s!
Having only just started their billeting journey two years ago Kerri Lynn, Brad, son Damen, and daughter Kadence welcomed Noah Boyko into their home on short notice. When asked how the family got started in billeting Kerri Lynn told us that it’s a pretty funny story. “Our friends and fellow billets, the DeMones, called us at 10:00 one evening. Kristen told us that the Hurricanes were looking for a pet-free home to host a prospect player for a week or so. We asked her, ‘how long until you need to know,’ she responded, ‘five minutes.’ I think it took us about three minutes to say yes. Little did we know that when we met Noah, he would instantly become part of our family and those first ten days have now ended up to an upcoming third season.”
Owner of Midland Electric, Brad is a busy entrepreneur while Kerri Lynn has her hands full as a teacher counsellor in the school district and with two active kids, the Vanderberg’s have a busy household. On a regular day, Kerri Lynn is whipping up an omelette in the morning and then everyone is off on their own schedules for the day. As we’ve often heard from billets, dinner time is a pretty fluid event because everyone eats at different times. “Damen and Kadence typically have activities after school as each of them play competitive sports. However, on Sunday evening when everyone is home, we all have dinner together,” says Kerri Lynn.
Damen and Kadence say having Noah at home is “like having a big brother” and is an “absolute hit with Damen and Kadence’s friends,” says Kerri. Noah made an appearance with Kadence’s soccer team at one of the Hurricanes games and has been known to join Damen’s hockey team at practices. Kerri says, “he always makes time for the kids and they cannot wait to have him back in our home!” Mini-sticks is a common activity with Noah and his billet siblings, “lots of mini-stick games, teasing, and wrestling that happens. He will, at times, have to play referee between the kids for an incident that he may or may not have instigated (it’s all in good fun of course).” Our bet is that he’s instigating more of those incidents than not.
When it comes to Noah’s family, well Kerri Lynn says “Cheryl, Stacey, Chloe, and Connor have become an extension of our family. We look forward to spending time with them over the hockey season and visiting with them outside of the season as well.” Kerri Lynn and Cheryl, Noah’s mom, are in regular contact during and after the season. In fact, some of their favourite memories come from the off-season. “One of our most favourite memories is when Noah came to our cabin for a few days this past summer. It was so nice to spend time together outside of the business of work and hockey schedules. Noah shares our family’s love and passion for the mountains and lake life. We spent the days wake surfing, swimming, and relaxing. The kids loved watching Noah wake surf and spending time with him on the boat.” Kerri Lynn, Brad, Damen, and Kadence also visited Noah and his family in Edmonton. “After dinner, Noah planned that we all get on the electric scooters to cruise around Whyte Ave. I was a little nervous for the kids to be riding around on the scooters but Noah assured me several times that everything would be fine. The kids echoed Noah’s sentiment that everything would be fine, and we all had a great time,” recalls Kerri.
Sounds like a typical family dynamic; the big brother comes up with an adventurous idea, mom has her nerves, the younger siblings side with the big brother, and the kids win in the end. In this case, three versus two makes it sound as though Kerri and Brad are the minority in the house and have their work cut out for them. Speaking of siblings, Kerri Lynn shares that Kadence, in particular, “always looks forward to seeing Chloe, as Chloe knows first hand the brotherly teasing that can be endured from Noah. An extra bonus is the wonderful hand-me-down clothes that Chloe gives Kadence.” Sounds more like a budding life-long friendship to us. “Our home has always been open to the Boyko family, whether for a visit or to stay.”
For those who have thought about billeting, Kerri Lynn has this to say, “It is a big commitment for the whole family. With that said, it is also a tremendously rewarding experience for everyone as well. It is wonderful to be a part of an individual’s dream who ends up being family.”
Read on to learn more about Noah’s time with the Vanderberg’s!
Do you have any traditions, fun facts, celebrations, etc. with your billet?
We always celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays that Noah is at our home for. Noah has been a regular fixture at Kerri’s parents’ house and is always included in larger family dinners.
We celebrate Thanksgiving with other billet families, the DeMone’s and the Stewart’s. We are saddened to not be able to do that this year. (For the record, we are sad too because we always enjoy seeing photos of the boys doing dishes at the end of dinner!)
Fun Fact: Noah loves the local coffee shop Bread Milk and Honey, and has even said they make the best coffee.
What does a game day look like in your home?
It typically consists of Kerri making Noah an omelette for breakfast. Depending on work schedules and Damen and Kadence’s sports, pregame meal is made either the day of or the night before. Like other billet households with younger children, it often involves the sound ‘shhh’. If Noah is really needing quiet, a written note can often be found where the kids play, it may or may not involve bribery for the kids to stay quiet. We try to make it to as many Hurricane games that we can to support and cheer on Noah.
Is there a favourite meal in your household?
I have been told that I make a great omelette and it is often requested for breakfast in the morning. Brad will often BBQ and smoke meat and there are never any complaints. Noah is not a picky eater which also makes life easier.
Is there anything you have to keep stocked in the pantry that you normally wouldn’t?
We cannot say there is anything different that we keep stocked, we will say however that the quantity of food increases dramatically. I can remember going to Costco and having two carts overflowing with food. Someone asked me how many kids I have and I responded ‘three, and one is a Hurricanes player’. The person laughed but thankfully helped me and pushed my extra cart to my vehicle. (We love you, Lethbridge!)
Is there anything else to know or share?
We love having Noah in our home and cannot wait for the 2020/2021 season to start!