The Victoria HarbourCats begin their season on June 2nd and the team is still in need of ‘billet families’ — people who are willing to take the young players from out of town into their homes.
Billet families are a cornerstone of making Victoria’s West Coast League baseball team’s season possible by providing a home away from home for the players. Without them, the young players would have nowhere to go.
The players need somewhere to live for their two and a half month long season from the beginning of June until mid-August.
The young men that billet families welcome into their homes are highly-skilled collegiate baseball players. They are often busy with their practice and game schedule, as well as their studies as they are typically enrolled in school, college or university through the summer months.
Many players from the Victoria HarbourCats have ended up making it to the major leagues and playing at the highest level possible after their stint in the WCL. Some HarbourCats to play in the MLB are Andrew Vaughn who made his debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2021, Nathan Lukes who made his debut with the Toronto Blue Jays just this year and Nick Pivetto who is now playing with the Philadelphia Phillies, to name a few.
In return for opening their hearts and homes to a HarbourCats player, billet families get several perks to compensate them and pay them back for their goodwill.
Billet families receive monetary compensation as well as season tickets and playoff tickets if the team is able to make it that far this year. Those willing to host a player will also gain a potentially life-long friendship with the ones they welcome into their lives.
As a host family, the expectations are fairly simple and easygoing. A billet family needs to be able to provide a bedroom with a comfortable bed and access to a bathroom. They also need to be able to provide two meals a day for the player they take in. Compensation for food is provided by the HarbourCats and oftentimes, the player is out of town and won’t need to have food provided.
Transportation to and from games and practices are not required by billets, but when convenient, it is appreciated by the team.
“We have had the opportunity to host HarbourCats players for the past 2 years. It is a fantastic experience,” said Trish Thame and Ken Pollard. “They become part of your family and you theirs.”
“We have been to Sacramento and Seattle to see our first year billet play and meet his family. He was drafted this past year and he and his family included us every step of the way, which was such an honour.”
Thame and Pollard now host three players in their third year of being a billet family and they highly recommend it to anyone who has the means to take one of the young men in.