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Battlefords North Stars’ success aided by board, billets

Celebrating decades of dedication.

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Teamwork makes the dream work. That is one of the affirmations that has helped the Battlefords North Stars Junior A hockey team succeed.

The team’s success story is also built off the ice with board members, volunteers and billets. Kent and Kara Rosen are two of the people whose longtime commitment to the Stars has helped contribute to the ongoing success story.

Kara has been a board member since 1988. In these years, she has taken on the role of game day co-ordinator, as well as being in charge of season and playoff tickets for many years. She is currently serving as treasurer and interim secretary.

Kara’s husband, Kent has helped with both the fishing derby and the agriculture fundraising project.

The dynamic duo, as they are fondly referred to, have been North Stars billets for 28 years, beginning in 1996. On Feb. 11, 2020, the couple was recognized as the North Star Sask. Energy Billet Family.

Kara says, “I enjoy being involved in the community, and being able to volunteer as a board member is rewarding. Billeting is a very rewarding experience as you can watch these young men become great husbands, fathers and professionals.”

The Rosens acknowledge the billets they take in become an extension of their family, with the parents of these young men becoming some of their closest friends.

“Some of the biggest highlights? Being around for all four of the SJHL championships won. We have made two trips to the national finals. Last year in Portage we watched them win silver. That was a very proud moment for us,” says Kara.

The decades-long volunteers say that, with the good, there are also the lows like players getting hurt or not playing. They aim to help the players balance the good with the bad and commit to being their best cheerleaders to keep spirits up through these challenges.

Kara adds, “With good communication and a good understanding of your expectations at home, it makes life enjoyable for us and our billets.”

It is no surprise to anyone who knows the Rosens that the upcoming Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame celebrations being held in the Battlefords will include Kara on the planning committee.

This dedicated volunteer admits hockey season can be very busy when balancing work with home and volunteer commitments, but says, “Honestly, after all these years, it is just a normal routine come the end of August. You use the schedule a lot to plan your meals. The billets help around the house. There really is no secret.”

Kara found the 50-year reunion event in 2023 very gratifying as she was able to see players from 1973-2023. She appreciated the opportunity to get together and exchange stories about being a North Star or a Baron.

A favourite highlight for the billet family includes this great memory. “One of my favourites is when coach Hasselberg asked us to entertain Igor and his family. Igor was living in the States, but is originally from Belarus. When we first met, his English was very limited. After his three years with us, his English improved. Igor now lives in the States but we will get a surprise visit at least twice a year.”

Thirty-six years of solid dedication to the team by Kara, encouraging her husband to join in some of the activity as a volunteer, and almost three decades of offering their home as a billet family, makes for miles of memories made and immense gratitude from the team for their continued commitment.

The Junior A hockey team, based out of North Battleford was founded in 1973 as the Battlefords Barons, before evolving into the North Stars brand in 1983. The team has won four SJHL championships, most recently in 2023. The team celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2023.