The day in the life of a Wolverine billet parent is busy, especially on game days but if you ask Kelly Shears to describe her day as a billet parent, she’s likely going to tell you about the players day because that’s how dedicated she is to her billet sons. Shears is not just a billet parent, she’s a wife, a mom, works a full time job and just happens to be the Wolverines Billet Co-Ordinator. 5 years ago when the Wolverines transitioned from running a Junior B team to running a Junior A team, Kelly took on the co-ordinating position and still continues in that role today.
Kelly’s season starts in August. That’s when she starts recruiting new homes, maintaining the homes that she has and making sure that each player has a place to stay when they arrive. Not only does she want to make sure they have a bed but Kelly says that it’s extremely important to make sure the players are in a safe and warm environment. She makes sure that each player is being fed, has a bed to sleep in and that they feel safe.
Being the billet co-ordinator comes with a lot of responsibility but it also comes with some perks. Kelly says the best part of her job with the team is getting to know so many people and creating friendships. She mentions that the hardest part is player movement but she’s quick to note that the rewards greatly outweigh the tough days.
During the off-season, Kelly, Dave and their daughter Sarah are a family of three. It’s pretty quiet and low maintenance but then August hits and the Shears family welcome 2 players into their home. Last season Kelly and her family were blessed with Joseph Nardi and Frederic Letourneau as billets. They all hit the ground running and Kelly says that that’s when her life gets busy but she wouldn’t change it for the world as she thrives off of the buzz that is created by adding two more people to their home.
Sarah started her life off as an only child and Kelly says she always asked for an older brother. Sarah was 13 when her first “big brother” moved in and she says from that moment on, she has loved being a billet sister. Little sister Sarah is now 19 and will soon be the big sister rather than the little one. She has moved on to college but still comes home for the summer and during the weekends. She said that so far, life at home with her billet brothers hasn’t changed. She still considers them brothers and has that same comradery with them as she did when she lived with them full time.
Kelly mentions that she was thankful for her billet sons last season as she’s sure that she would have followed Sarah to College had they not been here. Sarah laughs and says she’s thankful for that too. The two ladies go back and forth telling stories about their boys and it’s simple to imagine that anyone’s life would be enriched by inviting 1 or 2 players to live in your home for a season.
The Shears family has seen players come and go from their home and the team but even when the player is only with them for a couple of weeks, the bond they build is unbreakable. Kelly talks about one player that was with them for a short period of time but he fit so well with their family that they continue their relationship with him today and have travelled multiple times to watch him play hockey.
Kelly, Dave and Sarah all feel that having hockey billets has enriched their lives. Dave has gained some very valued golfing buddies and Kelly feels that she’s another mom to the players that live with her. Sarah is delighted to have more brothers then she could ever imagine. The Shears would all tell you that their family is stronger, bigger and better because of it.
Kelly would love to sit down with you and share mores stories about being a billet family and if you’re worried that she won’t tell you the pros and the cons, you’re wrong. Kelly is very good at being a realist and letting you know exactly what you’re getting your family into. But don’t be surprised if by the time she leaves your home, you’re already planning for the upcoming season and are ready to meet the hockey player that will soon become your son.
If you are interested in meeting with Kelly to learn more about the Wolverines billet program, feel free to contact her at 780-779-8815 or by email at Kelly@whitecourtwolverines.com
Dave, Frederic and Joseph
Joseph Nardi and Sarah Shears