The owner-coach won’t come right out and say it publicly, but the future of the very successful Cochrane Crunch junior hockey team could hinge on it finding enough billets for its players for the upcoming season.

Ryan Leonard says the team has lost a handful of billet families from this past season, for one reason or another.

“A lot of people have done their time and spent four or five years with billets.  So now we need new families to step up,” he says. “We need to fill homes for 17 kids and we’re going to give it ‘til August 1st and we have to make a decision what we’re going to do.  We have to set up a Plan B.”

Leonard won’t talk yet about what Plan B might include.

He says a billet family just needs to supply a room for a hockey player.  You don’t even have to cook every meal.  Your player can fend for himself.

“We try to have the player be part of the family and have the family meal with them at suppertime for sure.  It’s more or less bringing the kid home and make them part of your family.  You’re not responsible to bring him to or from the rink or to practices or to events, that’s all taken care of.”

You get 425 dollars a month from the team to cover expenses.

Leonard points out that the player is rarely home during the day, and is busy playing hockey every weekend — at home and on the road.