SAINT JOHN – Billet moms of the Saint John Sea Dogs are sending special gifts to their Humboldt Broncos counterparts.
Several Sea Dogs billet moms met earlier this month to put the finishing touches on a project that hopes to provide the Broncos billet moms who lost a loved one with some comfort in their time of need.
“There’s a community that is out there that is thinking about them and we want to reach out and let them know that we’re there,” said Heather Brittain, who has been a billet mom with the Sea Dogs for the past five seasons.
Brittain came up with the idea of sending each Broncos billet mom who lost a player with a specially designed pillow. The idea was inspired by the pillows Brittain gives Sea Dogs players when the time with her family has come to an end.
An email was sent out to all Sea Dogs billet moms inquiring about voluntary donations to fund the project. Within the first three families who responded, the group had enough donations to cover the costs. In total, 18 billet moms jumped on board with the project.
Kathy Cairns, a former Sea Dogs billet mom, donated over 10 hours of her time to design and create the pillows.
Cairns explained that the angel wings honour the players that were lost; the hockey sticks are a symbol of the Broncos; and the halos represents angels. Player’s names are inside the angel wings and a quote from the team president – himself a Broncos billet – is on the back.
Personal letters to each family were placed inside each pillow.
Brittain hopes the project offers the grieving billet families “a pick-me-up and lets them know that there are people out there thinking of them.”
The money leftover from the project will be donated to the club to help host billet social events.
“We say it all the time but it’s true – our billet families are the backbone of the Sea Dogs” said Trevor Georgie, President and General Manager of the Sea Dogs. “There is no manual to being a great billet family. Our billet families have big hearts, kind souls, and this is another example of it.”
Brittan said that following the Broncos bus crash, all of the Sea Dogs’ billet moms received messages from past and current players, saying they now understand why their billet mom had always requested updates when the team was travelling on the road.
Brittain explained that being a billet mom has been extremely rewarding for her family – especially for her own two boys.
“These young men – they come, they’re mature and they’re responsible beyond their years. We get more out of it than what we give. We give them a roof. We give them food. We give them a family. But we get more out of it than what we give for sure. My sons have the best role models they could ever ask for. Once they’ve lived with you, they never really leave you.”
The Sea Dogs billet families are one huge family themselves, supporting one another throughout the year to ensure players are happy and have a sense of belonging in the community they’ve moved to.
Cairns, who is no longer a billet mom, said that community never really leaves you.
“If I could go back, I would just take in each moment a little bit more so,” said Cairns. “Even when we had a long time together, it didn’t feel like long enough. You just need to cherish every moment because it goes fast and they’re not always going to be there.”
For more information on joining the Sea Dogs billet family, please email firstname.lastname@example.org