Editor's note: This is the latest in our series of billet profiles for the Estevan Bruins. Thanks to Mastec for sponsoring this initiative, and thanks to all of the Bruin billet parents for providing a home away from home
Billet names: Cole and Brittany Zahn
Billets since: 2014
Current players billeted: Isaiah Thomas and Caleb Petrie
Brittany and Cole Zahn have been connected to the Estevan Bruins organization since coming to Estevan.
The couple moved here in 2011 after Cole took a job as an assistant coach, and even once he was no longer a part of the coaching staff, he remained involved as a scout and a member of the executive. In 2014, Cole and Brittany became billet parents.
Once they moved into their current home, they decided they had the space to start providing a home away from home for junior hockey players.
“They’re lots of fun to have in your house,” said Brittany. “They develop such awesome relationships with our kids, and we get to develop these unreal friendships with their parents. It’s nice to see them out playing and being a part of the team and the community, and it’s a really great group of billets that we’ve gotten to get to know.”
Their billets for this season are second-year forward Isaiah Thomas and rookie forward Cole Petrie. Both are Americans, continuing a trend for the Zahn family that saw them also house defenceman Johnny Witzke for three years, TJ Irey for two seasons and defenceman Charley Manley, also for two.
It’s always great to house a player for multiple seasons.
“If we have the opportunity to have someone who is going to be around for a few years, that would be the way to go for billets, just because the first year, they’re figuring out the team and how things work, and if they’ve never been with a billet before, they’re not always telling us what they want to eat for supper and what they don’t like,” said Brittany.
By the second year, they’re more comfortable and fitting in as a member of the family.
Isaiah and Caleb also get along so well with the Zahns’ daughters Sawyer and Quinn.
“They’re awesome,” said Brittany. “Our girls just love them to pieces and want to spend every moment with them.”
Brittany said they would recommend serving as billet parents to anyone. For those with younger families, the players build bonds with the kids. For those whose kids are grown up, the players are awesome to have in the house and to keep them involved with the club.