Billet name: Ryan and Mandy Irwin
Player billeted: Keenan Rancier
Billet since: 2018
Ryan and Mandy Irwin haven’t been billet parents for a long time, but they would already recommend the experience to others.
The couple is in their second year of providing the home away from home for members of the Estevan Bruins. Forward Kolton Leslie stayed at their home last season and for the first half of this season, and goaltender Keenan Rancier also joined the Irwin household for this year.
Leslie was dealt by the club last December, but Rancier stayed. Both have been a big part of the Irwin household.
“We wish we hadn’t waited so long (to become billet parents), and can’t say enough good things about the boys,” said Mandy.
The Irwins really enjoy having the extra attachment to the local junior hockey club. They already have a very busy schedule between work and their two sons, but they enjoy the aspect of being more involved with the Bruins and the community.
Part of the reason they became billet parents is the idea that one of their boys might leave home to play hockey or another sport one day, and their desire to gain a greater understanding of the work that is needed.
“We had the ability to provide a decent home for these boys who are being sent away from home,” said Mandy.
One of Ryan and Mandy’s sons has hung up his skates, but both are big fans of the game.
Being a billet parent requires work, since they have one or two more mouths to feed, but she believes it’s been beneficial for them as a family. It also forced them to be more organized in meal planning.
The experience has definitely been worthwhile.
Keenan has been a great addition to the household, as Kolton was a great addition last year. Not only did the Irwins develop strong connections with their players, but they have built bonds with their families.
“I still feel close to Kolton’s mom, and Keenan’s mom and dad have been to Estevan a few times now and we plan to go see them this summer as well,” said Mandy.
They look forward to having Keenan back at their home for the 2020-21 season.