Every week, we will be introducing a billet family to the Olympiques fans through our various social platforms. You will get to know these families who relate with the Olympiques players on a daily basis.
This week, let us introduce you to the Boudreault-Gagné family.
1-Since when have you been a boarding family for the Gatineau Olympiques?
We have been a billet family since 2011.
2- Of the players you hosted, who had the most impact on your family ? Who were the top 3 and tell us why?
There’s a special place in our hearts for every player who has stayed in our home so they have all impacted us in their own way. We have been very fortunate to host players with whom chemistry was immediate.
3- Why did you decide to host an Olympiques player? What was the trigger?
Our neighbor was hosting Midget AAA players and, knowing us, he believed we would enjoy the experience. When our eldest left for his studies in Quebec City, we decided to try it out for a season. But, unlike our neighbors, we contacted the Olympiques. We liked the experience so much, it’s been 10 years and we’re still here
4- Which player are you hosting this year?
We are currently hosting Mr. Biz (Mathieu Bizier).
5- What are the major changes that occur in your routine when hosting an Olympiques player (food, lunch / dinner schedules, life in the house, etc.) ?
Aside from preparing pre-game meals, we can’t say that our routine has changed very much. We adjust to each other’s habits and integration is done with respect.
6- Have you kept in touch with your former residents?
We still keep in touch with almost every player who stayed with us and have also become friends with some of their relatives. We’re always happy to see each other and I won’t hesitate to initiate those opportunities.
7- Have you established a tradition when residents arrive or leave your home (a photo, a signature, a Christmas stocking, etc.) ?
For keepsake, we purchase an Olympiques jersey with the player’s number and have it signed. There’s also an autographed photo of him on our wall.
8- Can you tells us a little anecdote of a player who was one of your boarders ?
I had to make a quick round trip to the drugstore. As I’m leaving, I tell Mathieu that there’s a plate in the oven and that I will be back in about fifteen minutes. When I do get back, I find Mat going a little crazy. LOL. The food had leaked in the oven which caused smoke to trigger the fire alarm system. He didn’t know that he had to shut down the system with his code. He was so concerned with getting the smoke out of the kitchen, opening all the windows and patio door. He then tells me that he heard the phone ring but the person hung up when he answered. So immediately I called the central office to let them know that this was a false alarm. But, too late, the firefighters were already on their way since there was no response at home. When I hung up, my attention was immediately drawn to the living room window where I could see red rotating beacons flashing. We had two fire trucks at our doorstep. The firemen entered to investigate and left right away. That story still makes us laugh!
Another time, Mat was at home with other players. They were in the spa. Before going to bed, I gave them each a bottle of Gatorade so they kept hydrated. Fortunately my bedroom window is at the back of the house because, at one point, I heard Mat tell the guys they were locked outside. LOL. He even went barefoot in the snow to check if the front door was locked. LOL. On my way to the bedroom and out of habit, I had locked the patio door. I was laughing so hard when I came downstairs. What beautiful memories…
9- Could you tell us what it means to be a host family?
We love young people and the door has always been open to our children’s friends. So our day-to-day hasn’t changed, everyone is welcome to join us. It makes our home full and lively. We like to encourage and support our player. We attend his local games and don’t miss any road games. It’s a very different feeling watching a hockey game when you know a few players. Unfortunately this season hasn’t given us the opportunity to socialize with them, but I am hopeful it will be much better next season.
* Photo of Mathieu Bizier with the Boudreault-Gagné family, taken before the pandemic.