MUSKEGON, MI- The Muskegon Lumberjacks organization has selected the Bouwman family as the club’s 2020-21 Billet Family of the Year.
Greg and Jennifer Bouwman, as well as their son Andrew, have been billeting Lumberjacks players since 2014, and this season hosted Jan Skorpik, Danil Gushchin and David Hymovitch.
Left to Right: Danil Gushchin, Jan Skorpik, Greg Bouwman, Andrew Bouwman, David Hymovitch
“This season, with the uncertainty of Covid-19, the Bouwmans stepped up when we were short families,” said Head Coach Mike Hamilton. “Like all of our families, the Bouwmans have always gone above and beyond- and this season that meant housing three players. For the past two years, they have had players who were unable to travel home for the holidays, and treated them just like family, bringing them to family holiday parties and even buying them gifts. We cannot thank the Bouwmans enough for all they have done to support the Muskegon Lumberjacks.”
The Bouwmans learned about billeting when Andrew played travel hockey with several Jacks billet families. Since that time seven years ago, the Bouwmans have made many great memories, but one from this year stood out to Jennifer.
“During this season one of the boys started a stove fire making jiffy pop,” said Jennifer. “Somehow, the foil tore, the popcorn spilled out back on to the flame on the gas stove. Greg got up after hearing the guys laughing to see that Jan Skorpik had pulled out his phone to videotape it instead of getting the fire extinguisher. Don't worry, Greg got the fire extinguisher out, put out the fire and no damage was done.”
The Bouwmans will never forget the growth of Gushchin, who lived with the family for all three of his seasons in Muskegon.
“When Gushchin first arrived, he couldn’t speak english at all,” said Jennifer. “Now, he’s fluent in english and we have a great amount of respect for his growth both as a person and as a hockey player.”
For the Bouwmans, being a billet family is a way to give back to their community and support the sport that they love.
“Hockey downtown is important and these players are positive role models for our son, Andrew, a high school junior who plays hockey for Reeths Puffer.”
The Bouwman family has had a great impact on the Muskegon Lumberjacks and the organization hopes for that to continue.
“Our goal with every kid who's been here is to provide an environment where the only thing they need to focus on is hockey, and school if necessary,” said the Bouwmans. “It's important they focus on the team, and we want to provide an environment that allows them to do so.”
"In an especially trying year with the pandemic and extra safety precautions for our players, our billet families have played such a key part in a successful 2020-21 USHL season," said USHL President & Commissioner Tom Garrity. "All of our billet families for all of our teams this year did an outstanding job and we can not thank them enough, but we are again excited to give our Clubs the opportunity to highlight specific families that they feel went above and beyond in the duties that we ask of them every season."
If you are interested in being a billet family, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your information HERE.