Home Away From Home

DUBUQUE, IA — Fighting Saints players come from all over the world trying to chase their dreams. But as they chase those dreams…they need a place to call home.

That’s where the Saints Host Families come in.

Meet Jan and Cindy Sweeney. Hockey lovers who have opened up their home to the team for the last 20 years.

“We’ve had quite a few players come through our house,” said Cindy, “and it’s been real interesting.” “We get them from all walks of life that’s for sure,” says Jan.

Jan Sweeney celebrates with Seamus Malone and Keegan Ford after they helped the Fighting Saints win the Clark Cup last May
Jan Sweeney celebrates with Seamus Malone and Keegan Ford after they help the Fighting Saints win the Clark Cup last May

All walks of life and all parts of the world, landing in Dubuque every August, and staying until the season ends.

“As the year progresses they always open up more,” says Jan, “cause it’s a whole new environment too when they first come in so. They gotta get used to you.”

Once they get settled in, the players are like a part of the family.

“It’s like your second family, says Jason Ford, “and you’re comfortable with them and you do a lot of things with them so it becomes easy and just second nature.

Keegan Ford says, “They know to give you your space but at the same time be there for you.”

Being there to cheer them on…on and off the ice.

“I don’t know during the winter time what we would do…but yeah you know it’s just…it’s kept us busy,” Cindy tells SportsZONE.

At the end of the day…for Jason and Keegan…it’s like their home away from home.

“It’s…it’s my home,” says Keegan.

“Just being able to go back, even if you have a tough day or something,” says Jason. “Just to relax and feel comfortable there and feel like that’s your home is something that’s important.”

Keegan says, “I don’t know how they put up with me for 2 years…I’m surprised I haven’t been kicked out yet.”

The Sweeneys say they stay in touch with their former players well after they’ve moved out…keeping an eye on their careers and looking forward to receiving Christmas cards every year.

If you are interested in being a host family for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, contact Patti Swartz, Housing Coordinator for the team.

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Sports Producer, Anchor LCTV

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