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Goat Canucks Goat

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
When Joel Nagtegaal was a small fry whipping around the neighborhood with a hockey stick, his dad taught him an important lesson that really stuck.

Always ask the other kids to play and if they don’t have a stick, we’ll get them one.

It was through that generosity that Nagtegaal developed a pay it forward attitude towards life, an attitude that is now benefiting people who suffer from poverty, hunger, disaster, and injustice.

Nagtegaal, a student at the University of the Frasier Valley, and a few buddies from his roller-hockey team were sitting around a few weeks ago mulling over who would grow the meanest playoff beard.

That led to playoff goatees, which led to playoff goats and Goat Canucks Goat was born.

“It started with 10 of us vowing to celebrate each Canucks playoff win by buying a goat for a family in Africa,” said Nagtegaal, 24, who hails from Langley. “Now it’s getting out of hand, which is great.”

Working with The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), Nagtegaal and company pledged $25 a win to purchase a goat for a family in need. If all went according to plan, there would be 16 goats bought by the time Vancouver was in possession of the Stanley Cup at the end of the post-season.

The plan for a championship hasn’t changed, but the amount of goats certainly has as the initiative has grown horns, so to speak.

Nagtegaal formed a Facebook group that had just the 10 original members in the beginning, as of Wednesday afternoon there were 425 people taking part.

Goat Canucks Goat, the project’s official website, was built free of charge by the kind folks at, and the site has already had more than 8,500 page views.

Yes, they’re on Twitter and 32 people are following them after only a few days.

All these numbers are impressive, yet they pale in comparison to the Goat-o-meter, the goat gauge keeping track of how many hollow-horned mammals have been bought.

Tuesday afternoon when I spoke with Nagtegaal, the Goat-o-meter was at 78. Following Alex Burrows’ heroic overtime winner that thrusted the Canucks into the second round, the Goat-o-meter exploded and now sits at 125.

“It’s been so overwhelming,” said Nagtegaal. “This just goes to show that people really want to hold on to something and they like giving; Canucks fans are the best fans in the world.”

It wasn’t just the play off playoff beards that led to goats, they’re actually one of the most important animals for families in need.

According to the CRWRC, an organization that works in communities around the world to help families suffering from poverty or natural disasters, goats are life-altering animals.

“Goats are great animals for poor farmers. They’re easy to care for and will eat almost anything. They can be kept in a small yard, and are strong and hardy. In addition, goats breed after just a few years, providing additional goats for the family and community.”

Goats can also be sold for income, their milk is a great source of protein and calcium and when all is said and done, they can be eaten.

“They mean so much to these families,” Nagtegaal said, “and at only $25 a goat, we couldn’t not afford to help out.

“Even though there are some tough economic times right now, we still come from a position of privilege compared to most people in the world and it feels good to make a difference.”

Nagtegaal isn’t too sure where Goat Canucks Goat will go from here with the Canucks heading to the second round of the NHL playoffs, but perhaps it’s time to up the ante?

“We were thinking that we might buy an elephant, but I think that’s actually illegal so we won’t be doing that,” he joked.

“I think the biggest thing you can buy from the website is digging the community a well for $250, so the goal now might be doing that so they have water.”

To join Goat Canucks Goat, check out their website, or click here to buy a goat in Canada, click here to buy a goat in the United States.

For more information on The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, click here.

One animal, four legs, four letters and an acronym Canucks fans are living up to - Greatest of All Time.

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