The Cranbrook Bucks are slated to open their inaugural season in the BCHL on December 1st, but the team is still looking to fill a few positions before the season, including billets and volunteers.

Nathan Lieuwen, Cranbrook Bucks President said they have a number of billets already but a looking for a few more to open their homes and host players during their time with the Bucks.

“So far we’ve got a great group of billets together who are going to take a lot of our players and provide them with a great home. We are still looking for 3, 4, 5 more families that could take on some billets for us and some players and provide them with a great home.”

Nathan Lieuwen, Cranbrook Bucks President and Majority Owner outside the team dressing room at Western Financial Place on January 20, 2020. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)

Lieuwen said the chance to host a player or multiple players can be a great way to invest in the life of a young man suiting up for the Bucks this coming season.

“We want our players to be self-sufficient in a lot of ways, we don’t want them to need a nudge out of the door to get to practice or to get to classes or wherever they may be going,” Lieuwen told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “The families really are a second home and the relationships you build with these players, I can speak from my own experiences, are lasting relationships that are pretty key in these kids’ lives.”

Living with a billet in Cranbrook when Lieuwen was a star goaltender for the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, Lieuwen said the experience as a player and as a billet is hard to describe.

The Cranbrook Bucks sign and logo on the exterior of Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place. (Bradley Jones, MyEastKootenayNow.com staff)

“It’s just so cool to come into an accepting home, whose excited to have you, and you build those relationships. You carry it on with you, even once you’re done playing and I think that’s a really special bond that is very special for those who get to experience it.”

Anyone that may be interested in becoming a billet is asked to reach out to the Cranbrook Bucks Billeting Coordinator at bucksbilleting@gmail.com to get all the details and information needed to become a billet and host a player.

The Bucks are also looking to fill a variety of volunteer positions with the team. Anyone that potentially wants to volunteer with the Bucks can reach out to info@cranbrookbucks.ca.

Lieuwen said they are optimistic they can begin play on December 1st as anticipated and will be announcing dates for their Rookie Camp, Main Camp, and exhibition games soon. Besides the on-ice component, Lieuwen said plenty of work has gone into Western Financial Place with the installation of the new arena roof, let alone new paint, new boards and glass, and the installation of the new video jumbotron.

“I can’t wait for people to see Western Financial Place, let’s put it that way. Every inch of that building has seen a couple coats of paint, the new boards and glass and incredible, the board’s coming in very soon, and it’s going to be a pretty ‘wow’ experience when people walk in there for the first time.”