As the Columbia Valley Rockies begin their season on the ice tonight (Friday, September 9th) versus Creston, there are still a number of vacancies the Rockies are looking to fill with volunteers.

One of the more primary areas of need is more billet housing for the players throughout the season. Currently, all of the players on the Rockies roster are billeted in homes in Radium, Invermere, Windermere and Fairmont, said president of hockey operations Graeme Anderson, but they are still looking for more homes within Invermere so that the players dont have to travel as far when the weather presents worse driving conditions in the winter.

Thats something we always look for, but having said that, the homes that we have outside of town are excellent homes, he said. We hope to keep using them because theyre being very good to the kids and most of them have hosted kids for several years.

Mr. Anderson said that he and his family have been billeting for nine years now and have enjoyed it every year. The key responsibilities of a billet host require them to provide the player or players theyre housing a private room with access to a shower, laundry and internet in addition to being able to provide breakfast and at least one main meal for the players. In exchange, the team will pay billet hosts $550 per player a month along with free entry to Rockies home games for the entire household throughout the year.

Speaking from his past experiences, he said one of the benefits for families with children is that they are able to learn from some of the players about the sport and the different aspect of the community that the Rockies represent.

Its particularly a benefit if you have a kid who is eligible to play junior or wants to play junior or even is playing hockey at all, Mr. Anderson said. When we started, our son did play minor hockey, but he prefers to snowboard and play golf, but he had a valuable experience learning from them and they taught him different things about the game and he learned just by being around them more about the game.

In addition to the billets, the Rockies have a number of other volunteer openings they are looking to fill. Due to the amount of events the organization runs Bull Riding in the Rockies, the BC Pond Hockey Championship, the Rockies Golf Tournament and home games there is a host of opportunities for people with free time to get more engaged with the local junior hockey team.

We have to run a lot of events and that creates a need for a lot of volunteer hours and we just dont want our volunteers to get tired out, he said.

The more volunteers that we have doing anything like bar servers in the arena to security, working at events, the better.

One of the bigger areas in need of volunteers is the woodpile fundraising. After the passing of Ray Brydon, the Rockies are still looking for someone to take the reigns as the woodpile co-ordinator who would work with the players in the community to ensure the firewood is cut and delivered in an efficient manner.

Mr. Anderson also said the team is looking for a trainer to stand on the bench during the season and treat injuries if and when they arise.

After hosting their season opener, the Rockies will be holding a team barbecue at Home Hardware tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., before hosting their third annual Columbia Valley Rockies Golf Tournament at Copper Point on Sunday, September 10th.

Ultimately, there are plenty of opportunities for people to become a member of the Rockies organization, Mr. Anderson said.

Its worthwhile and most of the time, its fun.