A local hockey billet family is being recognized by the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) for their contributions to local hockey and for welcoming Cents players into their home. Each month, the BCHL recognizes families throughout the province as ‘Billet Families of the Month’, and Merritt family Peter Schmid and Shannon Dunn were among those selected for the month of January 2023. 

The couple have billeted Cents players since 2013, welcoming in young athletes from across North America as they play their season with Merritt’s own junior hockey club. They told the BCHL that having a place to call home is key for Centennials players who could find themselves far from home.

“It is important to us to be a billet family for the Centennials for many reasons,” said Dunn and Schmid in a statement.

“Obviously, Merritt is a small town and, outside of hockey, training and school, there aren’t too many ‘distractions’ for the boys, so having a home to begin and end your day with becomes even more important.”

Currently, Dunn and Schmid are the billet family for Cents assistant captain Mark Thurston, a North Delta forward who has played with the team since the 2020-21 BCHL pod season. The couple considers their billeted players family members, and said they have cherished their time working with the team. 

“We have loved these boys becoming part of our family, the neighborhood and community at large – everyone knows who the Cents are and it is a great feeling being part of the team,” added the couple’s statement. 

The Merritt Centennials’ website calls the importance of billet families in the community “immeasurable,” adding that without the generosity of families that welcome players in, the team would not be on ice. 

For more information on the Merritt Centennials billet program, visit the team’s website at www.merrittcentennials.com/being-a-billet, or contact Billet Coordinator Andrea Barnes at 250-378-0229.