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Playoff Fever “Goes to the Goats”

What started out as high hopes for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup ended in an explosion of generosity in the form of goats for villagers in Africa.

Back in April, Joel Nagtegaal, 24, a member of The Bridge Community Christian Reformed Church in Langley, British Columbia, gathered with family and friends for their regular Sunday afternoon game of roller-hockey. During Stanley Cup playoffs the men in the group traditionally grow goatees in support of the Canucks, but this year Nagtegaal suggested that perhaps they could do something more. Goatees and goats—how about a goat donated for every Canuck playoff win?

The group was in for 16 goats if the Canucks made it all the way and won the cup. The goats would be donated through Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s $25-per-goat gift program.

Word spread, and the www.goatcanucksgoat.com website was born, complete with a “goat-o-meter” and a link to CRWRC to simplify donations. The website started getting hits from all over the world. T-shirts were created and promptly sold out.

The local and national media caught wind of the story, and Ida Kaastra-Mutoigo, director of CRWRC-Canada, was interviewed on national television with Nagtegaal. A CBC reporter in Kenya connected with CRWRC’s Rev. Fred Witteveen, who accompanied the reporter to a village that had received CRWRC goats in the past.

Months later, Nagtegaal is still shaking his head, surprised at how a simple idea took on a life of its own. Long after the Canucks lost early in the playoffs, more than 1,000 goats were donated.

Vancouver will soon host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and Nagtegaal and his friends are thinking about “Goats for Gold.”


About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a teacher/librarian in Langley, British Columbia.

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