Just ask 51-year-old Jacques Gravel. The Montreal resident is one of a growing number of not-so-over-the-hill athletes who’s making a few extra bucks by filling in as a goaltender in men’s leagues and other hockey games in his local area. “When the goalie shows up in the dressing room, they’re thrilled — you’re the star of the team and very much appreciated,” he said in this Canadian Broadcasting Corp. News report. Why? There’s a big demand for goalies throughout Canada and Gravel is one of the many part-time entrepreneurs taking advantage of the trend.
Why the need for goalies? Apparently, it takes a special kind of person to put themselves in harm’s way of rubber pucks flying at great speeds toward their heads. It also requires someone who has the right equipment for the job — and who’s mobile, flexible and probably a little crazy too. At least that’s my opinion. But Gravel isn’t the only crazy person doing this.
Gravel finds his goalie gigs on GoalieUp. The app, which originated as a group texting service for replacement goalies, has grown into a community of around 2,000 netminders in the country including 700 to 800 in the Montreal area alone. The goalie-rental business is growing. GoalieUp faces competition from another service called PuckApp, a Toronto-based company that claims to book goalies for about 200 to 250 games a month across Canada.
Teams using GoalieUp pay around $40 for the first hour and then more if the games go longer, plus extra for late night games or last minute requests. Parking and location can also affect the cost. The goalies take a piece of the payment.
Like any good business model, both GoalieUp and PuckApp fill a market need, albeit one that is uniquely Canadian: a shortage of qualified goaltenders. Plus, it’s making it easier not only for teams to find talent but for goaltending fans to relive their glory days … and get paid too.
“I love to play and I’ve never met a bad bunch of hockey players,” Gravel said. Happy customers all-around.