John Finnie article

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Posted by Simon S-M on July 10, 1997 at 16:13:47:

I found this in a clear-out of my hard disk. I've forgotten where I got it from....


Some people don't know when they are well off but don't count Manchester Storm's John Finnie in that group because as Finnie himself puts it "up to this point my life has been one big holiday and I'm sure if you asked my mum and dad they would second that opinion.

Things haven't gone entirely Finnie's way however, but he has plenty to smile about although ironically being a netminder isn't one of them! "I never wanted to be a netminder" laughs the Detroit born keeper who will be 25 on January 3lst "I hated it and I still do. I always wanted to be a forward and score goals but when I was a kid but I just couldn't stay on side. I had a lot of trouble when I was 6 years old, and that was when they said "John you're gonna have to be the goalie or quit playing." That's very traumatic when you're just a kid because you know... how bad can you be? I thought everybody was horrible at six. So they stuck me in the net and I guess I found my calling ....arguably. Eventually I came to realise I wouldn't have much of a future playing forward. I do it in the summer just for fun but let's be honest it isn't gonna pay the bills.

Whilst talking hockey Finnie is pretty sure he knows where his strong and weak points are but as a keeper he is certain, it isn't the good things you're remembered for. "I like to think I'm a stand up, angles type of goaltender rather than a sit back in your net, reflex type of keeper. I don't like to be very flashy and I prefer to take a puck in the chest rather than make a big glove save. On the other side of the coin, I think this is probably well documented that my teammates reckon my passing is a bit suspect and it's something of an ongoing joke around here. I keep kidding them that I am gonna play out one day but these guys just don't believe me... I'm good but you can't pass with a goalie stick. Give me a regular one and I'd be Wayne Gretzky out there"

Not that people would remember the good passes because "that's the way the whole thing works I'm afraid," says Finnie. "Being a goalie is a thankless job. Anytime you make a mistake it flashes up on the scoreboard whereas for an outfield players there are five other guys to cover for you and everybody makes mistakes and lets in bad goals and nobody on the ice feels worse than I do when that happens but it just comes with the territory and you learn to deal with it. I'm afraid when you're a goalie it's either the Penthouse or the outhouse."

And generally in life, so far anyway, for the man aptly nicknamed "Vegas" it's tended to be the Penthouse. "I didn't move to Florida until about to but that was where I signed my first contract. It seemed a great thing to do y'know playing hockey for a living, I mean wow it doesn't get much better than that.

Well actually it does for Finnie because summer time is well, read on. "Back home I have a baby in the garage that makes heads turn." he laughs before explaining "it's a '95 Corvette ZRI, the prestigious automobile back home where I am from and it gets quite a lot of attention too. You can call me shallow if you like but I love the attention. As I said this thing makes heads turn and it's expensive too - about 75,000 USD - so that's my baby. As I said I have been very lucky up to this point in time and I count my blessings. I mean there are a lot of people in jobs that they hate but if you're lucky enough to find a job you like then you don't have to "work" a day in your life. Which brings us neatly onto work, if you can call it that because summer work for John Finnie is in a place where most of us pay through the nose to get to.

"I work at Disneyworld at the MCM Studios in Orlando Florida and I work on the back of the trams that take you from the car park to the park entrance so I am one of the first people you see. I get everybody onto the tram and then get out my microphone to give my speech wishing everyone a "good morning. Welcome to Disney MCM Studios, you can do this you can't do this, no this, no disappearing in the bushes, tell people a few jokes... it's fun really fun. Yeah they call it work but that's just sarcastic. I mean you're out in the sun in the tropics with blue skies, palm trees, everybody's on vacation so they are all feeling good and looking for a good time I mean that's what it is." But if it sounds like a simple job then.....well it maybe but Finnie still had to go to school to get it.

"A week may not sound long but for a low paid job it's quite something, however" he says "it has to be done. The object is quite simple and that is to ensure that we make everybody's trip to Disneyworld as memorable as possible. It's like smile school for want of a better expression but they teach you all about different customs and cultures; y'know you don't want to do this with some people, do do this with others...lasically it's just how to be polite and pleasant to people from all over the world without upsetting their beliefs. To be honest it's really easy but I guess it's either in your nature or it's not. I think I was cut out for this kind of stuff. "

On the subject of stuff, the man who thinks he'd be recognised because he has no hair also happens to be something of a sci-fi fan. "Yeah" he confesses "I'm a sci-fi kind of guy and am heavily into Star Trek and Star Wars and stuff like that. I prefer the atmosphere of the cinema and I reckon that there's no touching Star Trek. I'm definitely a trekkie first and foremost. I'm a big Star Trek buff and I was excited to see the new movie come out although it wasn't quite as good as I thought, but I've still seen it twice already in the three weeks it's been out."

And does he have the gear? "Yeah I have my Star Trek shirt, my Captains attire, but it's only for very very special occasions and I don't let everybody see it cos some people don't appreciate that kind of know I might get ridiculed." As if...not in ice hockey surely! Then again if another of Finnie's wishes came true no-one would say a word against him.

"If I was to be an animal, well I've always been partial to being a shark or something like that. I'm not a very big guy and I'm always getting run over so it would be nice to be a Creat White Shark just cruising around the ocean and having people go away just when I shoot them a mean look. I guess I could get my own back a little." And on the subject of shots, which is after all what a netminder is there for, who does Finnie rate as the three best shooters in Superleague.

"Well" he says "Ken Priestley has about four goals on me already just from the two games we have played so he has to be in there; Merv Priest is another who has a lot of goals on me and I know that people laugh and tell me that he's old and washed up but that's not the case. Basingstoke are kind of my bogey team in fact I've been relieved of duty against them for the rest of the season after a vote in the dressing room. I would have voted the same way myself" he laughs. "Third on my list would have to be.....I always hate to get hit by Chris Brant's shot because his shot hurts even through all the padding. I know a lot of people have hard shots but his actually stings, even if you get the pad behind it so I always hope that his shots are heading wide. You wouldn't think it was possible to hurt netminders through all the pads but to be fair most good hitters can do it occasionally, with Brant though it's every one."

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