Become A Host Family


Okanagan Ice Hockey Academy UK school
Okanagan Ice Hockey Academy UK school
ice hockey boarding billet school


As our program continues to grow and players relocate to Swindon, we are looking for families living in the Swindon area who are willing to open their homes to a player(s).

Host families provide student-athletes with a home away from home and a place that they can relax when not partaking in a busy schedule. We provide monthly payments of £350 per player to aid your care for the player.

Student-athletes will require 3 meals a day, a room to call their own where they can relax but also communal spaces in your home where they can get involved with you and your family, most players will become a big part of your home.

In many cases, the relationships developed between the student and their Host Family last for years, even when the student has moved onto the next chapter of his or her life.

What is Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA UK)?

OHA UK is the only full-time ice hockey academy in the UK. Our programme hosts some of the most talented ice hockey players in the UK & Europe.

The Okanagan Hockey Academy’s flagship, located in Penticton, Canada, is one of the premier private hockey programs worldwide. The partnership established with the Okanagan Hockey Academy, has helped us bring our professional experience, in the classroom and on the ice to the UK.

The program, developed by our Hockey Academy, is designed to help students progress academically and athletically. The goal of our program is to ensure students develop into positive citizens in their community and to help them reach their goals on the ice.

What support do host families receive?

Okanagan Hockey Academy UK’s host family process is overseen by Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council. Both organisations work closely with OHA UK to facilitate the process of placing our athletes in a home they will be comfortable with, as well as providing year-round support to both the student-athlete and their families.

At OHA UK we have a dedicated Academic & Hosting Co-ordinator who will be your point of contact to advise and support you throughout your time as a host family. They will also be the contact for the student-athletes school, attending parents evenings and events so that your evenings are undisturbed.

What does our schedule look like?

Players will need hosting from September 1st to July 20th each year. During this time they will attend 2 trips to Canada.

On weekdays players will be collected by OHA’s minibus in the mornings and taken to training, from there our staff get them to school. At the end of the day we will collect them and either drop them home or take them to gym.  Players will also be collected and dropped off when they have games on weekends.

Players will attend 20* games per hockey season. Games will be on a Saturday or Sunday and OHA UK will arrange transport.

*This may decrease due to COVID19

Do host families have to store student-athletes hockey gear?

No, we have dressing rooms at the rink where they hang their gear up everyday.


How do host families know what the student-athletes are doing?

We send out a weekly schedule, via email so you know exactly what is going on for the coming week.


What happens host families leave for the weekend or go on holiday?

We don’t expect your life to stop because you host a player. If you are leaving for a week, weekend, or even a night, we will arrange to have your player put into a temporary house while you are out of town.


What should a host family provide for meals?

For breakfast we ask that the student-athletes have access to food, you they are able to sort themselves before practise. For lunch we ask that you make a lunch for them to take to school or college, some student-athletes are able to make their own lunch. To aid a healthy lifestyle we ask that dinner time meals are made fresh and is the same or similar to what you would cook for yourself and your family.


Do host families do their laundry?

No, we do not expect you to do their laundry. The boys are more than capable of doing it themselves as long as you show them how to run the washer and dryer.


Do host families have to drive the kids around once they are dropped off at night?

We do ask that you drive the kids around once and awhile so they can do some errands, go watch a movie or hang out with some friends. We don’t expect you to drive them every single time but it is expected that they are able to explore the area when their schedule permits and when they plan it with you.


What do we do if we have a player who is not obeying the rules?

Do not be afraid to discuss the rules to them and give them gentle reminders about curfews. OHA is alright with you enforcing the rules. If mentioning the rules again does not stop the behaviour then please contact our staff who will help to resolve issues right away.


If you would like more information on becoming a host family, please contact us! 

Apply for more information on becoming a host family
As a Billet of 7 OHA boys over the last 4 years I can say it has been a great experience for us as a family. Each one of them has fitted into our lives so well. We have a part of their hockey lives too... Supporting them where possible. In Addition, we have made some life long friends with the families too. I would recommend being a Billet for OHA it has definitely enhanced our family lives.

-Fiona Girling

OHA Billet Family

We started billeting 7 years ago after a friend received a leaflet and thought we’d like it and the rest is history!
Our house is always busy but in a good way there’s lots of laughter usually at mine and my husbands expense but we wouldn’t have it any other way!
We’ve gained a lot from billeting it’s so satisfying meeting a shy 14 year old who lives with you until they turn 18 and leaves a confident young man who we feel is part of our family. We have forged strong friendships with parents as have my sons with some of the lads.
We can’t imagine not having the lads around and hope to do this for many more years.

-Tanya Robinson, Host Family for 7 Years

I would like to say that over the 8 years of billeting and being one of the first billets for OHA it has been a great experience, of course, there are the ups and downs as to expect, but we have made memories and friends that will last forever. The comradery between the teammates when all living, eating and training together is unparallel a true team experience that you can only wish for your children to experience. One of the biggest takeaways that you receive from being a billet/ host family is that you can watch and experience the big highs and the low lows of a professional team atmosphere, which not everyone is lucky enough to experience. The early morning wakeups the late-night dinners and the weekend breakfast’s are your little part to helping the athletes perform at their best. Over the years we have billeted a total of 13 players and currently have 5 living with us there are no words to describe the relationships that your family will develop with the other players as they become apart of your family. The best times are the game nights where we all sit around laughing and joking playing card/board games. When the summer comes around and the season is winding down we spend time outside in the pool enjoying BBQ dinners and outside games like cricket and lacrosse, making the most of the light evenings. The most gratifying feeling is to see the players develop maturity, culturally, socially as a player but most importantly as a human being. There is no greater feeling than to see someone grow up into a mature young person and to know that you have positively impacted their lives. There isn’t an emotion to describe that.
Overall, being a billet is a fantastic experience and one that every family can take something from. It is an emotional roller coaster that everyone should be queuing up for.

-Christine Llewellyn, Host Family for 8 Years

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