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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Contenti’s Drumheller Dragons Billets are family

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    Joanne and Nick Contenti are great examples of how billeting Dragon players, changed their lives for the better.  
    Joanne spoke to inSide Drumheller, “We started billeting in 2009 and were pretty nervous. We previously lived in three AJHL towns, Brooks, Olds, and Drumheller. In each town, we were fans of the home team.”
    Joanne explained, “In Olds we started getting more involved,  Nick joined the Board of Directors and I was manning the 50/50 booth, but we never wanted to billet. I just didn’t think I would have the time to cook them meals. We moved to Drumheller in 2008 and were asked several times to billet and we kept saying no. Finally in 2009 we said we would give it a try. Evan Warner moved into our house, and we have never looked back.”
    Joanne continued, “We have met some amazing young men. Young men who are disciplined and focused and so very polite. These young men have lived a dream of playing hockey at the “next” level since they first put skates on. We have found that providing meals, while of course is required, is the smallest part of what a billet provides.”
    Joanne further explained, “What you are really giving is a home, a family, a safe place for them to be, while they continue perusing their dream. Someone who is present to celebrate success and encourage them past challenges. Each and every one of these boys has walked through the door and into our hearts and we have enjoyed every moment. We have met their families who are so thankful to know their boys are being cared for.”
     In 2011 we had Simon Horlick come to live with us for about six weeks. The next year, the Contenti’s had said they would only take one billet but then Horlick sent Joanne an email saying he was coming for tryouts and could he please stay with them again.
The Contenti’s couldn’t say no. “He showed up for the start of the year with a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers!! Seriously, these boys will melt your heart.” said Joanne.
    The Contenti’s billets this year are from Michigan, Evan Rochowiak and Levi Wunder, and Joanne explained that it has been fun watching them experience chinooks, northern lights, and of course the unique beauty of our valley. The players are proud of where they are from and have shared pictures and stories of home as well.
    Earlier this year, some of the boy’s families came up. The Contenti’s met Wunder’s Mom and Aunt and Evan Warner’s Mom and Grandma. They toured the valley and had lunch at Wayne. Joanne shares this story. “Somehow the conversation turned to pickles. Nick talked about the mustard pickle his Mom used to make and how much he missed it. Two weeks later we received a package from Warner’s Grandma in Florida with two jars of mustard pickles, just like Nick’s Mom used to make!”
    Joanne and Nick expressed, “We have included these boys in all our family events,while they are around, and we still keep in touch with some of them. Hockey has always been a part of our lives growing up and with our own children so we love being at the rink. Billeting  gives you a winter son  to cheer for, and leaves a warm feeling in your heart.”

Dragons win fourth in a row



Clint Filbrandt scored his second shoot out winner in less than a week as the Dragons downed the Calgary Mustangs 3-2 Friday night. 

The Dragons and 569 fans hosted the Mustangs at Drumheller Memorial Arena on February 26. 
Mason Fischer drew first blood for the Dragons just three minutes in, but Calgary tied it up six minutes later. The two team remains tied until the 12 minute mark of the third, when the Mustangs took the lead 2-1. 
It looked bleak, but with less than 3 minutes left Chaydan Lauber tied it up for the Dragon, and forced overtime. 
Calgary outshot the Dragons 4-1 in the extra period, but it went to the shoot out where Filbrandt scored the winner. 
This makes four in a row for the Dragons as they head into the  last two games of the season. They are in Canmore this Friday to take on the Eagles, and then at home to wrap up the regular season Saturday versus the Camrose Kodiaks. 

Billet families score lifetime relationships

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    The Drumheller Dragons have 17 billet families to host up to 23 players during the season and Corrine Collett spoke with The Mail about her experience.
    Collett had three sons who grew up playing hockey and she was always the manager of their teams and their dad was always the coach. “I’ve been involved with hockey for over 18 years.” said Collett.     
    Currently, Collett has two players, #17 Clint Filbrandt from Calgary and # 14 Matt Muzyka from Connecticut.
    “These billeted kids come into your life and they are part of your family from the minute they get here.” said Collett. When speaking with The Mail about day to day living with two players, Collete said:  “Depending on the individual player, as they have different eating habits, and if they eat fruit, vegetables, meat as well as Gatorade, bottled water and protein bars, it can be a little bit more expensive. Game night, the players mostly eat pasta, chicken or fish, perhaps a spinach salad or something similar to that. They don’t really eat a lot at mealtime and it is no different than your own kids around home. The difference is that players just eat all day.  It’s always nutritious, not a lot of junk food, mainly protein snacks, fruits and vegetables. One of my kids came from Connecticut and doesn’t have his own vehicle but his roommate does and they look after each other.”
    Collett continued, “I’ve had the same kids year after year, but last year they both left for the WHL,  Ryan Jevne who now plays for the Tigers in Medicine Hat and Carter Czaikowski who plays for the Portland Winterhawks. I keep in contact with every kid I have ever billeted and one player, Harrison Hendrix is now in his third year at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario and every year at Christmas he calls and he tries to see her every summer.”
    “It is very rewarding. I have been so lucky, the greatest kids, and it’s mostly fun and they grow up before your eyes, it’s pretty cool. Billet families are provided with season passes for home games and I’ve attended every single game and sometimes go to the away games. Then the Dragons have their windup banquet and the kids pack up and they’re gone. It’s pretty tough to see them go.” expressed Collett.   
    If you think you would be interested and your family would be a good match, please contact the Dragons Billet Coordinator, Corrine Collett (403) 821-4502 or email her at corrine@canalta.com or corrinecollett@gmail.com

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