The owner of a billet home in a neighbourhood in southeast Salmon Arm received a late-night call from neighbours last week saying hockey billets staying in the home were throwing a loud party while she was away on a trip. After discussion with Silverbacks administrators the players were asked to leave Salmon Arm for the pre-season and will likely face further consequences. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks make swift response to billet complaint

Hockey team enforces players role as community ambassadors

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks stayed true to their commitment to ensure their players respect the community after an issue with players staying in a local home occured last week.

After reports from neighbours that a rowdy party was occurring in her home where hockey players were staying, Gina Leyenhorst returned from her trip to find that players had indeed hosted a bash in her home. Neighbours had reported a crowd of people being loud, apparently using alcohol and even leaping from a balcony into the home’s pool.

“I suppose that was just them thinking that it was okay to have this pool party with alcohol and girls and whatnot. It was a bit over the top,” Leyenhorst said.

Related: NHL players join Silverbacks for Pro Am game

Her hopes for a speedy resolution to the situation were answered, though, as the Silverbacks organization kept in line with their strict stance on how players should behave in the community and asked the players in question to leave town immediately.

“The biggest part for us is the standard has been set. We’re not looking to push aside the issue when guys do mess up in a situation,” says Brooks Christensen, Silverbacks operations manager. “There are going to be consequences and that standard has to be set for every player on the team, what we determine is fair for their actions.”

It is still unclear what the full extent of their consequences may be, and Silverbacks administration is currently deliberating over an appropriate response beyond denying the players billet privileges for the pre-season.

He notes, however, that the players in question were not officially billets for the team. They reached out on their own to arrange their accommodations and the Silverbacks organization did not place them in the home.

Leyenhorst appreciates the quick response to the situation and the team sticking to their view of players as an important link to the community.

“They will realize as ambassadors of our town, they come into our town and they become ambassadors of our community,” she hopes.

“That’s a big part of what we are trying to push towards,” Christensen says. “We have good characters and good teammates and if they can’t follow simple rules, there are going to be actions taken into consideration.”

Related: Silverbacks sign several up-and-coming skaters

He also notes the organization feels a certain responsibility to families who open their homes to young hockey players.

“These families take the kids in as if they were one of their own. We’re fortunate to have good billets in town and people supporting the team,” he says. “Our players have to recognize that, if there is some big mix up, there are consequences.”

While disappointed the incident occurred, Leyenhorst harbours little ill-will towards the team or the players and simply wishes they had considered the consequences before they decided to host a party in someone else’s home.

“It’s not like things were damaged, and it’s not about the things–things don’t matter, people do. Especially in light of Humboldt, these community relationships are so important,” Leyenhorst says.

“At least nobody hit the concrete when they jumped off the roof—they hit the pool,” she laughs.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

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