Cape Breton Eagles billet family uncertain if they’ll be needed for new hockey season
SYDNEY, N.S. -- The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is aiming for an Oct. 1, 2020 start date for the new hockey season; however, the immediate future of the league remains uncertain for the players and the families who house them.
When it comes to the Cape Breton Eagles, Annette and Jerry MacLean aren’t just fans, they're family. The Sydney, N.S., couple has housed roughly a dozen players over the past several years.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the pair say they will continue billeting when the league resumes play. However, they’re not sure if they'll be needed.
“We knew we were going to billet for as long as we can,” says Jerry.
“With this here and possibly a second wave and stuff like that there, we've just gotta play it day by day.”
The MacLeans are used to their home being a social hub for the players. Annette says, even if they are needed as a billet family, things could still be different this year.
“I said to him the other night, 'I'm not sure if we're going to see a player walk through our door this year, because I'm not sure if they're going to be nervous. Especially with the social-distancing, we might not see another player besides our two walk through our door,” she says.
The MacLeans say they plan on taking all appropriate steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Lots of cleaning, obviously,” says Annette.
Teams typically rely on a dozen or more host families to house their players. The MacLeans say they've heard from other families that are still undecided about participating this year, citing concerns around having someone new living under their roof during the pandemic.
“They may not make their decision until maybe before training camp, because again, everything is so questionable,” says Annette.
CTV Atlantic reached out to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for a comment on their plans for billeting during the 2020/2021 hockey season, but did not hear back by time of publishing.