The opportunity to form lifelong friendships while supporting the local Western Hockey League franchise is again available.

The extra guest room in your house could be used to host a Wenatchee Wild hockey player. The Wild are once again in need for the upcoming season. 

Coach Clarky Unpacks the Rewards

Wenatchee Wild Assistant General Manager and assistant head coach, Chris Clark explains the privilege of hosting a young junior hockey player. 

Chris Clark will remain with the team as associate head coach and assistant general manager (Photo credit: Digital Media Northwest)
Chris Clark - Wenatchee Wild associate head coach and assistant general manager (Photo credit: Digital Media Northwest)

Connor: Chris, you were once that lanky, undersized kid arriving at the door of a host family - with little more than a suitcase. What was that like for you as a player to be welcomed in by a host family?

Chris Clark: Honestly, my billet families played a huge role in my success not only as a hockey player but also as a person. I lived with a billet for the first time at 16 years old and I was so lucky that they treated me as if I was one of their children. I had various billet families from the time I was 16 to 21 years old as I navigated from high school to junior hockey. I can honestly say I had an amazing experience with all of them.


C: Do you still keep in contact with your host families?

CC: I still keep in touch with my billet families some of which I haven’t lived with in over 25 years. When we play in Victoria each year I make it a point to reach out so we can hopefully connect for a coffee or lunch. A few years ago they even got to meet Julie and Cooper when we went there for the World Junior Tournament. I also ran into a different billet family when we were in Kelowna a couple of years ago but at the very minimum, we all stay in touch via social media.


C: How many billet families are the Wild looking for?

CC: We are in a unique position here in Wenatchee because we have the Wild, U18, and a U16 team who all need homes for their players, so in total each year we need around 65 beds. Obviously, we have a lot of amazing billet families who do it each year but it is also natural to lose a few great families each year as their own kids get older or families retire and spend more time traveling, etc.


C: When will next season’s players return to the Wenatchee Valley and need a host family?

CC: The players will arrive at the end of August so it will be here before we know it.


C: Are there any requirements for being a host family?

CC: We do have all our billets fill out an application to become a billet family as well and we do a home visit so we can meet with the families and talk about expectations and answer any questions they may have about the program. We also ask the player does have his own bedroom and internet so they can do their homework when at home. Most importantly we want families that want to help these young athletes chase their dream of being not only great hockey players but also grow as people as well.


C: The schedules for a youth hockey player mean the kids' schedules are different and need flexibility and understanding for the potential host families. Yes?

CC: Whether it is a U16,18 or Wild player we do have the players on a very busy schedule each day as we are also preparing them for life after hockey where you will be busy from the morning to dinner time. The players for the most part are out of the house by 8 am and will be busy until about 4 or 5 pm each day. We feel it is essential to have a very structured day to allow these kids the best chance to succeed on and off the ice.


C: What if you have little ones in your family? Can you still be a billet?

CC: Absolutely, I can't tell you how many times I have had billet families tell me what great role models our players have been for their own young children. We want our hockey players to not only excel on the ice but also as people in the community and at home with their billet families. I have also lived and seen it is an amazing experience for empty nesters as well. We want this to be an experience where both the players and their billet families are gaining new family members for life.


C: Are there any benefits that Wild offers to a player billet host? 

CC: Yes, there is a monthly stipend that the families get for hosting a player. They also get a discount on Wild Season tickets and we do a few events throughout the year to honor and acknowledge our amazing billet families like a pre-season billet BBQ and billet appreciation night.

Connor: How can local families contact the Wenatchee Wild if they’re interested in becoming a billet family?

Chris Clark: Hunter McLeod is our billet coordinator and her email address is you can call 509-888-7825 and ask for myself or Troy Mick and we would love to talk to you more about it. Finally, there is a ton of information at this link as well on our website:

I would encourage anyone with even a little bit of interest or questions to email or call us so we can talk to you more about this amazing experience. If you have a family you believe would be a good fit we would love to know about them so we can talk to them more about it. I can say with complete confidence that this will be an experience that you truly enjoy.

LOOK: Best Counties To Live in Washington

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Washington.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Washington State in Crisis: 7 Major Shortages Gripping the State in 2024

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

More From KW3