If you are familiar with the 'foreign exchange student' program, then you may understand what it is like to house a Tornado hockey player(s) for a season. Simply put, these are young men, ages 16-20 who come to North Texas from all over the United States (and sometimes out of the country) to play for the Texas Tornado each season. They do not stay in their own apartment or house, but with host families in the area. Becoming a host family is a very rewarding experience. You open up your home to a young man, who is coming to town to chase his hockey dream, continue his academic growth and have a memorable life experience. Often times these host families stay in touch with their player after he has moved on to college and professional hcokey and everyone stays lifelong friends. It truly is a rewarding experience and the Tornado player is a nice addition to any home!
Tornado host families get great benefits too! To learn more, please contact Shannon Smith at the Tornado office at 972-335-9800 or by email.
The following is a testimonial written by an actual Tornado housing family:
"Growing up as big hockey fans in New England, we thought it would be kind of cool to host a Tornado player. We weren’t sure what to expect, or if we really wanted to do it or not, but we had a face-to-face meeting with Coach Curtale and asked a lot of questions before we agreed to it.
We had been close to the Tornado organization during their inaugural year in Frisco in 2003-04 and got to know many of the staff members. We were very impressed with everyone we came in contact with, which probably gave us enough of a comfort level to even consider becoming closer to the organization by hosting a player.
So one Saturday morning, Coach Curtale came to our house to answer the questions we had and tell us about the player. I was pretty sold on the idea early on, as was the rest of our family, so we decided to give it a try.
Our player was a goalie, Ben Bishop, also a high school senior. We met him the day before school was going to start in August. All the high school players, their families and the host families were gathered together in the locker room on a Sunday to go over some ground rules for hosting a player as well as to meet our new “son”. My first thoughts when I saw 6’ 6” Ben was “would the bed be long enough?” and “how much food does he eat?”
The kids were very excited to have a big brother in the house and enjoyed playing hockey with him in our foyer, among other things. We also became even closer to the team by attending every game, listening to the road games on the radio and Internet and getting to know many of the other players and families by attending host family parties, hanging out by the locker room after the game, etc.
Another great side benefit is that we became good friends with Ben’s family from St. Louis. We continue to stay in touch and will continue to watch Ben’s career as now is playing in the NHL! We really enjoyed our experience that first year with Ben and the Tornado organization, so we decided to do it each and every season."
The Lafata Family Family's