May 02, 2015

Eddie Finnigan

Those who have studied the NHL's early history surely have encountered the name Frank Finnigan, one of the NHL's early stars with the Ottawa Senators.

But even the most studied amateur hockey historian may be surprised to learn that another member of the Finnigan family also played in the NHL. They even played together, briefly, once the financially troubled Senators franchise transferred to St. Louis to become the Eagles.

Eddie Finnigan, the younger brother by about 10 years, briefly played in the NHL. He didn't have a well known nickname like his brother, who had several including "The Slumbering Romeo" and "The Shawville Express." That's pretty amazing considering he was described by one local scribe as "famous for sleeping. Absolutely famous."

The rest must of done Eddie some good as he was an accomplished amateur player in the Ottawa/Hull area both before and after his professional career. Four times his teams challenged for the Allan Cup.

The Montreal Maroons were interested in Finny's services for the 1930-31 season, but the Ottawa Senators objected as he was their property. The Sens had kept him on their protected list for several years, paying him $500 under-the-table, a not so uncommon illegal practice back then.

Finnigan had a 12 game trial in St. Louis with the former Senators late in the 1934-35 season, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist. Brother Frank actually ended the year in Toronto, where he rounded out his

The following season saw the Eagles disband thanks to the Great Depression. Their players were dispersed around the league. Eddie was claimed by the New York Americans but, after a poor training camp thanks to a hamstring injury, he was traded to the Boston organization. He spent the entire year in the minor leagues except for three games with the Bruins.

The minor league life must not have agreed with Eddie. The Bruins sent him to Providence for the 1936-37 season but he refused to report, as it was a drastic pay cut.. As a result he was suspended and unable to play anywhere.

Eddie returned home to Ottawa and a year later he was reinstated as an amateur, though the NHL was never happy with the decision. They constantly fought against his right to play as an amateur, since he quit despite a valid contract. It was not until a face-to-face meeting with Boston boss Art Ross that everything was forgiven.

He played through to 1947, travelling in his last season to Renfrew to play for $600 under-the-table.

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