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Don't Let a Goalie Have Time For Baseball
We spoke with Ian Peters about his new site helping NYC teams and goalies find each other.
STNYC: The site started in Canada and now it’s expanded to NYC. Explain what it is.
IAN PETERS: ‘Book A Goalie’ (BAG) is a goalie rental service that conveniently aligns ice hockey teams/leagues/reps with experienced goaltenders.
How long has the site been going in Canada?
The site was started eight years ago by Ron Bursey, a business-savvy Toronto-based ’tender. The name has been around as far back as the early ’70s.
I know you moved to the city fairly recently. Was it always in your plans to launch the site here?
Launching the site here was not in my initial plans. I’ve never associated NYC with being any kind of an organized or pick-up hockey city. I arrived with great doubt. When the movers asked, “Are these hockey bags coming?” I hesitantly nodded yes. When we arrived, I searched for nearby ice rinks and discovered two; one of which was easy to get to via subway. In no time I was off to afternoon skates. I immediately noticed the obvious need for ’tenders. The following week I returned with my goalie gear. The core group of skaters would each pine to get my contact info for the next week’s skate…as well as other skates. The idea of Book A Goalie New York was hatched. I reached out to Ron.
Was the site a solution for you as a goalie?
Aside from the obvious demand for ’tenders, the site was a solution to me having to pay my own way to get to skates week after week.
Do you supply goalies for just ice hockey? How about roller or street hockey?
Aside from successfully supplying goalies for ice, I’ve begun introducing roller and street hockey communities to the service. In my initial registration of goalies, I do ask ‘What other surfaces do you play on?’
So far is it pretty much the NYC metro area. Have you thought about expanding to Long Island, New Jersey...why not nationally?
Aside from the greater NYC area, I have begun to canvas the entire Tri-state area for goalies. I listen to skaters in the locker room talk about their local skates in Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey. There’s definitely a thriving hockey scene in these places. I’m excited for the future.
Truth be told, you’d rather be playing baseball.
I’d like to be playing baseball as much as I am hockey. Unfortunately I can’t. Wife. Work.
Is there an equivalent service in the baseball world? Bookapitcher.com?
Not that I know of. Hmmmmm. Thanks for asking. •
How It Works
• The costs are $50 for 1 hour of rental, and $65 for 90 minutes. All booking payments with the rental goalie are split 50/50. New goalies may be asked to pay an initial fee of $50. This covers us in the event of goalies signing up, playing a game or two and then taking off with full payments received at the rink.
• Teams may ask goalies if they can contact them directly. We tell our goalies ‘Feel free to give them your name, but by no means should you give them your contact info. Instruct the team rep to contact Book a Goalie and specifically request you for future bookings.’
• Being a rental goalie is all about availability. We encourage goalies not to register with us unless they can play a minimum of 3 games a month. Not everyone will be a fan of how we operate, but that’s how we work. At the end of the day, you’re a rec goalie getting paid to play.
When putting a call out:
1) I email and text the roster: ‘Monday 1pm @ Ice Pavilion’
2) Goalie(s) reply
3) I reply: ‘Jill/Joe, it’s yours’
I choose based on if he/she owes anything, skill level, how cooperative he/she has been and when he/she last played.
4) Goalie then sends payment (New goalies must pay $15 prior to the start of their first 3 bookings respectively. A tab can be started.)
5) I send full details: ‘Contact
Mike Smith. Collect $50. Keep $25’
6) Payments are squared away at the end of each month via PayPal and/or email money transfers.
It’s very important payment is received first from new goalies because a small percentage of guys will play that one game and pocket the full amount. Sometime we use Facebook to see who goalies really are. We also check with team and league reps.