The Puck Stops Here

For Anthony, a goalie’s most important skill is “staying square to the puck.”

November 22, 2017 | | Leisure

It’s a case of need meets nuts. Almost. Whether you’re a hockey team whose goalie is injured or AWOL, or a shinny group tired of firing at sweaters hung from crossbars, someone with the time, gear and inclination to face slap shots from strangers is an email booking away.

And that someone will do it for the love of the game – definitely not for the money. Goalies To Go and similar firms connect netminders and clients every day, most hours, year-round.

Anthony Budhwani, newly resident in Bolton, has been a goaltender for 18 of his 26 years and a freelance netminder for Goalies To Go (established in 2004, now with a hundred-plus goalies) for about three. He’s a smallish, A-level goalie (ratings run from A to D) who “plays big.”

For Anthony, a goalie’s most important skill is “staying square to the puck.” And a rental goalie’s most important asset is “quickness to respond” to the mass emails the firm sends its pool of goalies to let them know about needy clients’ game times and locations. First-come, first served with the gig.

Anthony’s shift work in customer service at a hotel and conference centre gives him the flexibility to play as much or as little as he likes. The $50 he collects from a team after a game is split 50-50 with the firm, though he sometimes makes a little more if notice is short. But his motivation isn’t the money, it’s “the ice time. You gotta love it!”

Is Anthony invested in paid-to-play games for strangers he’ll probably never see again? Yup. Very much. When the red light goes on, it bothers him.

“I want to go and do well – to give them their money’s worth,” he says. “I haven’t had a really bad game yet. Mostly they’ll say, ‘Great game! We’re glad we called you!’ They might give me a tip, or I’ll be the first person they’ll offer a beer in the room after the game.”

Anthony rarely jumps at the downtown Toronto gigs that are the most commonly posted. Typically he accepts games in Vaughan and other areas of southern York Region, but he would like to play more in the area around his adopted hometown.

“Hockey has always been huge in the GTA, and it’s growing even more. There are fewer postings up here,” he says. “I’d prefer to play locally. The Albion Bolton Community Centre is the arena up here. Since I moved I keep my eye on it in the posts. It’s nice to play at home.”

Hockey team got a big hole in net? Anthony and his peers await your blasts from the point, your wristers, your chips and dribblers. Even your cheap deflections.

About the Author More by Anthony Jenkins

Anthony Jenkins is a freelance writer and illustrator who lives in Mono.

Related Stories

Joe Wilson, writer Anthony Jenkins and Peter Glass. Photo by Pete Paterson.

Geezer Hockey

Nov 22, 2017 | Anthony Jenkins | Leisure

We play municipal seniors’ pickup hockey for the exercise, the banter, the camaraderie and the sheer joy of the game.

Jacob Stadnyk carries the puck as he and teammate Ryley Anderson are pursued by the “Vancouver Canucks.” Photo by Mike Maloney.

Confessions of a Hockey Dad

Nov 15, 2007 | Tony Maxwell | Back Issues

Rediscovering the joy of the game with a team of eight-year-olds.

In his mid-80s, Bill Carnegie still plays old-timer hockey once a week and continues to lace up for practice three times a week. Photo by Rosemary Hasner / Black Dog Creative Arts.

Bill Carnegie

Nov 22, 2017 | Gail Grant | Over the Next Hill

“My life has been bookended by hockey in the winter and flying in the summer,” he says.

Millpond Hockey at the Alton Mill

Nov 17, 2014 | Tony Reynolds | Leisure

What could be more Canadian than lacing up to play on the pond?

She may be wearing borrowed skates, but writer Nicola Ross looks every bit the part in her debut hockey game. She even did a turn in goal and grinned happily (perhaps with relief it was over) front and centre for the team photo. Photo by Pete Paterson.

My Not-So-Glorious Hockey Career

Sep 11, 2013 | Nicola Ross | Autumn 2013

But then, winning isn’t everything for the Caledon Women’s Hockey League.

When he was 14, Holland’s parents installed a shooting area in a corner of the basement, complete with hockey boards and Plexiglas to protect the walls, and simulated ice on the floor. They even hired an artist to draw a crowd of The Simpsons characters, along with a few familiar hockey faces, who watched their son shoot. Photo by James Jackson.

Peter Holland’s Hockey Homecoming

Nov 25, 2015 | James Jackson | Back Issues

Scoring with the Leafs. A Caledon boy’s hockey dream comes true.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment you agree that IN THE HILLS magazine has the legal right to publish, edit or delete all comments for use both online or in print. You also agree that you bear sole legal responsibility for your comments, and that you will hold IN THE HILLS harmless from the legal consequences of your comment, including libel, copyright infringement and any other legal claims. Any comments posted on this site are NOT the opinion of IN THE HILLS magazine. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. Please report inappropriate comments to vjones@inthehills.ca.