Uber for goalies: app connects Toronto, Ottawa netminders with needy hockey teams

Niki Sawni is the creator of Puck App, which dispatches available goaltenders to needy hockey teams in the same way that the well-known Uber app connects drivers with riders.

Goalies get $25 per game with Puck App

Hockey teams likely won't find the Ottawa Sentaors' Craig Anderson on Niki Sawni's Puck App, but they will be able to track down a local goalie to fill in when they're suddenly short a player. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

A centre, two wingers, two defencemen and a goalie.

That's all you need to put a rec hockey team together — but according to Niki Sawni, it's not always easy to find the last piece of that puzzle.

A screenshot from Niki Sawni's Puck App, which connects hockey teams with available goaltenders. (puckapp.ca)

Sawni's the creator of Puck App, which dispatches available goaltenders to needy hockey teams in the same way that the well-known Uber app connects drivers with riders.

As recreational hockey players get older, they're less and less willing to get in the crease and sacrifice their body for three full periods, Sawni told Alan Neal, host of CBC Ottawa's All In A Day.

"You're getting pucks fired at you, your head — and the equipment's expensive," Sawni said. "Most players, as they get older, they'd rather play out [of the net]" 

The app connects players with goalies in their city, allowing them to filter prospects by availability and skill level. 

Sawni launched the app in Toronto, and it expanded to Ottawa earlier this month. About 100 goalies in Toronto and about 50 in Ottawa are currently signed up, he said.

Like Uber, users can rate the goalies on a five-star scale — but the rating system also goes the other way.

"The goalies are able to rate the teams," said Sawni. "Basically, we don't want goalies that are too good playing, or goalies that are too bad for the level of play."

Goalies 'just love playing hockey'

The teams pay a fee to use the service, with $25 per game going to the netminders who accept the request — although unlike Uber, no one just yet is quitting their day job to be a full-time Puck App goalie.

"They can make some side income," said Sawni, who's played hockey around Toronto and Kingston, Ont., his whole life.

"But more often than not, these are guys that just love playing hockey."


 

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