Pagé family reunites with former Raider billet in Alberta

Photo submitted by Roger Pagé. The Pagé family posing for a post game photo with Washington Capitals forward Alieksai Protas at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Dec. 3, 2022

Little did they know it at the time, but a phone call they received on a family vacation in BC in the summer of 2018 turned out to life changing for the Pagé family.

The phone call was from Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt and business manager Michael Scissons asking them if they would be willing to become a billet family for the club’s import draft selection from Vietbsk, Belarus: Aliaksei Protas.

It was the first time the Pagé family had taken on a billet into their home, and it was nothing but a positive for the family.

Kim Pagé says Protas was like the big brother her daughters Brooklyn and Cailin never had.

“It was absolutely amazing. It’s better than we ever expected a relationship like that to be. They were all so close, his first year when he was here, he probably spent more time with Brooklyn because he was new in the area and she drove, so he was able to get out with her and go places and go see the city. His second year here, him and Cailin became really, really close. If they had a bad day with sports, school or bullying, he was the one who wanted to talk with them and help them through it. They were definitely the brother/sister relationship.”

Alberta Road Trip

That close family relationship didn’t end when Protas left Prince Albert. There was a traveling cheering section for the former Raider as he took to the ice with the Washington Capitals in Calgary and Edmonton last weekend as the entire Pagé family made the round trip of over 1,600 kilometers to watch Aliaksei in the NHL.

Kim Pagé says she is incredibly proud to see Aliaksei making his dream come true in the NHL.

“It’s absolutely unreal. But it doesn’t surprise me with how hard he has worked to get here. When we went to see him in Winnipeg, the minute we walked into the rink it was tears for me. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with happiness and pride looking at him out there. In Calgary and Edmonton, it was the same thing. You see him come out to the ice and realize how hard he has worked and the sacrifices he has made. This journey started for him when he was 15 years old leaving his family to pursue this. He’s done it and I’m so incredibly proud of him.”

Roger shares Kim’s sentiment about their former billet son. Roger says he even changed his team allegiance after he heard the Capitals call Aliaksei’s name in the 2019 draft.

“I was a {Detroit Red] Wings fan. Long story short, the team wasn’t living up to my expectations. I was waiting for the right opportunity to jump ship so to speak. As soon as Aliaksei got drafted by the Capitals, that’s my new team. When he was first drafted, my first thought was he is going to play with Alexander Ovechkin. Of all the other names he is going to be playing with, I couldn’t be happier for him.”

During the trip, the Pagé family even got interviewed by reporters who follow the Washington Capitals beat. Kim says that all came to fruition because Protas was excited to reunite with his billet family.

“We were so excited, but he was also just as excited. He had let his coaches know, he had let his teammates know and the reporters that travel on the bus with them and he let them all know we were going to be there. So, knowing he was that happy and excited to see us felt incredible.”

During the recent Alberta road trip, the Pagé family were all wearing jerseys that sported the Protas surname on his back from a variety of teams he has played for throughout his hockey career.

You’ll often find Roger Pagé wearing a Protas uniform of some variety at Raider home games at the Art Hauser Centre.

He says he likes to bring positive attention to Protas.

“Every time I put the Protas jersey on, whether it be his Belarus jersey, his Hershey [Bears] jersey, his Raider jersey, I know I am bringing his name to light. And anyone that sees the connection of ‘Hey that’s a Protas jersey’ it’s like that’s right, let me tell you a story. Everything about that kid I try to keep on the positive side of the conversation and send him as much good vibes as possible.”

The Capitals went 1-1 in Alberta, losing 5-3 in Calgary and winning 3-2 in Edmonton. In the second game, Protas picked up his second assist of the season on Nick Dowd’s game winning goal in the third period.


There are plenty of good memories for the Pagé family of the time they spent off the ice with Protas.

The 6’6 Belarusian was known for his antics in the household. Kim says you had to have your head on a swivel because he was known for his jump scare surprises.

“He’s such a character. It makes me laugh looking back, he is such a massive kid, he is 6’6. But he always loved to hide and jump out from behind doorways or the closet. Sneak the down the halls and tiptoe, with the size he was, he loved hiding and surprising people. With the size he is, you wouldn’t think that’s something that’s possible, but it is. There are so many special moments about him that I can remember, it’s hard to pick one.”

For Roger, some of the best memories he has with Protas come in the form of friendly competition. He would take on Aleksai Protas in Mario Kart: Wii on numerous occasions, but only came out victorious once.

He says the racing brought out the real competitive side of Protas.

“There’s a testing ground, you got to feel every billet out. It’s not like we’ve had many billets in the house. Every one of them that has been in the house has played Mario Kart at least once. You get a vibe from them, I’m not saying they are not as competitive as him just not at the game. He didn’t know how to play the game but within three days he was kicking my butt. If he didn’t have a game the next day, we’d sit down and I’d have to try and beat him.  You haven’t lived until you’ve raced 32 races against Aliaksei Protas.”