It might still be summer with the threat of a 90-degree still present and the Steele County Fair just around the corner August 17-22, but it's not too early to think hockey. And the Steele County Blades junior hockey team has a great opportunity for you! They are seeking billet - or host - families for players for the coming season. The team reports around Labor Day with their season beginning at the end of September.

Blades coach Nick Adamek says, "We are in the heart of our offseason, recruiting kids, getting everybody ready to come back to town here, super excited to get things going here."

The reasons to host a player are plenty.

  1. Make a lasting relationship while continuing an Owatonna tradition of junior hockey that dates to 2005. Adamek says, "The billet families, as we call them, are the life blood of a junior hockey team...For us, it's a great way for kids to have some good positive role models in the community and it opens up our players to have a family away from their family."
  2. Get the inside scoop on what's happening with the team, "That inside line on what's going on with our team, day to day."
  3. Season tickets for your family to attend games at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna.
  4. Have a teenage boy, role model in your house, "You get to know all these kids. And these kids tend to congregate with each other and become big parts of the fabric of multiple families," Adamek added.
  5. Possibly learn a new language. Certainly hockey has its own language. But you may literally learn some new words. Adamek says, "We've got kids coming this year from Belarus, Australia, Canada, all over right? Then obviously, we have some kids from here in southern Minnesota."

Billet families provide a room, a bed, wifi and meals for the hosted players. The team compensates host families. Contact Marge or Mike Steinbauer for more information at 507-456-4960 or mmsteinbauer@yahoo.com. You can also reach out to coach Adamek at nick@steelecountyblades.com. Families and players all must pass a background check.

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