SIOUX FALLS, S.D. –– The Sioux Falls Stampede in conjunction with the United States Hockey League (USHL) have nominated Ann Davis to represent the team as USHL Billet Family of the Year. Ann has opened her Sioux Falls home to Stampede players since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
“We would like to thank Ann for her hard work and dedication to provide our players with a home away from away home,” said President Jim Olander. “We are very fortunate in Sioux Falls to have tremendous families like Ann who go above and beyond to provide our players with the best care while they are here. She has a heart of gold and is always willing to help with anything she can to help the players and our organization. We are extremely grateful to have her as part of our team.”
This past season, Ann welcomed ten different players throughout the season to her home. In addition, she cared for an injured player who saw his season come to an end and rehabilitated in Sioux Falls for the majority of the year. While not able to have family members by his side, Ann was with the player during surgery and provide care after, including driving him back and forth to therapy.
While she has enjoyed her time with all players, Ann has really enjoyed taking care of import players. During her four years, she has housed players from Latvia, Russia, and Slovakia and is the first to greet them at the airport when they arrive in Sioux Falls. She has taken trips with the players to the Black Hills so they can experience Mount Rushmore and learn about the great state of South Dakota.
“When I first became a billet parent four years ago, I didn’t realize I was going to house players from all over the United States and the world,” said Ann Davis. “Each player brought with them their own unique perspectives and cultural differences. The very first season, I had a player from Russia who didn’t speak English. I had to teach him how to use a toaster and a microwave. During the year, we worked on his English while learning to cook simple meals and do his laundry. Now he’s preparing to play professional hockey.”
While Ann has played a big part in the lives of the players she has housed, it is her boys who have played an even bigger part in her life.
“As a billet parent, I invite these young players into my home expecting to impact and change their lives. It isn’t until they leave that I realize the change they have made in my life.”
One of the many special parts of being a housing family is the relationships you develop with the players. Still to this date, Ann receives monthly, sometimes weekly, text messages from all of her former players to let her know how they are doing and to make sure she is well.
“They are in my heart forever.”