Frank Finnigan
Position Right Wing
Shoots Right
Nickname(s) Shawville Express
5 ft 9 in (0 m)
165 lb (75 kg)
Teams Ottawa Senators (NHL)
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)
St. Louis Eagles (NHL)
Nationality CAN
Born July 9, 1900(1900-07-09),
Shawville, Quebec
Died December 25, 1991 (age 91),
Shawville, Quebec
Pro Career 1923 – 1937

Francis 'Frank' Arthur Clarence Finnigan (July 9, 1900–December 25, 1991) was a Canadian professional forward who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1923 to 1937. During this time, he played for the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and St. Louis Eagles, and was nicknamed the "Shawville Express." His younger brother Eddie Finnigan also played in the National Hockey League. His daughter Joan Finnigan became a published writer.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Frank Finnigan was born in 1900 in Shawville, Quebec, a town in Quebec, located northwest of Ottawa along the Ottawa River. He retained a home in Shawville after becoming a professional hockey player. Finnigan suffered a heart attack on December 18, 1991 and he died on Christmas Day in 1991 in Shawville Hospital..

The 'Bring Back The Senators' campaign[edit | edit source]

When the NHL planned to expand in 1989, the consortium to obtain a franchise for Ottawa signed Finnigan to be part of the 'Bring Back The Senators' campaign team. Finnigan along with his son Frank Jr., made public appearances on behalf of the campaign. Finnigan was also part of the presentation team to the NHL expansion committee in December 1990. The group was successful and the new Ottawa Senators team began play in the 1992–93 NHL season.

Unfortunately, Mr. Finnigan died before the new team would play its first game in 1992, for which he was scheduled to drop the puck for the ceremonial face-off. Instead, on opening night the honour went to his son, Frank Jr. to drop the puck. On that night, the team honoured him by retiring the #8 jersey, making him one of three players in NHL history to have his uniform retired by a team for which he never actually played.

The street in front of the main entrance to the Ottawa Senators' arena - Scotiabank Place is named Frank Finnigan Way in his honour. There is also a restaurant inside Scotiabank Place named 'Frank Finnigan's'. A banner honouring his retired number hangs from the rafters also.

At the time of his death, Finnigan was the last surviving member of the Senators Stanley Cup-winning team from the 1926–1927 season, the final season of the 1919–27 Ottawa Senators dynasty and one of only a handful of players still alive from the NHL Senators days. He was also the oldest living NHL player and was scheduled to appear at various NHL functions.

Playing career[edit | edit source]

Finnigan learned at an early age that there was money to be made in hockey. He received his first fee for playing hockey when he was 13, playing for Quyon against Fitzroy Harbour, for which he received $10. Finnigan first played senior-level hockey for the University of Ottawa in the Ottawa City Senior League (OCSL) in nearby Ottawa in 1921–22. According to Finnigan, he was paid to play for the University and did not have to submit any assignments. As he had to take the train from Shawville to Ottawa, he picked up the nickname of "Shawville Express." He played two more seasons for teams in the OCSL, with the University and the Ottawa Montagnards before joining the Ottawa Senators in the 1923–24 season.

Finnigan was an integral member of the 1927 Stanley Cup champion Senators team, playing on a line with Hec Kilrea and Frank Nighbor. He later served as the Senators captain from 1930 – 1933, and scored a high of 21 goals in the 1929–30 season. When the Senators suspended operations for the 1931–32 NHL season, Finnigan played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, winning the Stanley Cup for a second time, returning to the Senators the following season. Finnigan scored the final Senators goal in the final season that the NHL Senators played in Ottawa. He scored an unassisted goal at the 1 minute, 7 second mark of the second period on March 15, 1934. The following season, he moved with the other Senators players to play for the transferred franchise in St. Louis, Missouri known as the St. Louis Eagles in the 1934-35 season. He was sold by the Eagles to the Maple Leafs before the season's end in February 1935 and he finished his career with several seasons with the Maple Leafs as a "defensive specialist."

In 1937, Finnigan retired from the NHL. He returned to Ottawa and played ice hockey for various amateur teams, including the Ottawa RCAF Flyers while he was in the Air Force.

NHL Statistics[edit | edit source]

Regular Season

Season Team GP Goals Assists Points
1923–24 Ottawa Senators 2 0 0 0
1924–25 Ottawa Senators 29 0 0 0
1925–26 Ottawa Senators 36 2 0 2
1926–27 Ottawa Senators 36 15 1 16
1927–28 Ottawa Senators 36 20 5 25
1928–29 Ottawa Senators 44 15 4 19
1929–30 Ottawa Senators 43 21 15 36
1930–31 Ottawa Senators 44 9 8 17
1931–32 Toronto Maple Leafs 47 8 13 21
1932–33 Ottawa Senators 45 4 14 18
1933–34 Ottawa Senators 48 10 10 20
1934–35 St. Louis Eagles 34 5 5 10
1934–35 Toronto Maple Leafs 11 2 0 2
1935–36 Toronto Maple Leafs 48 2 6 8
1936–37 Toronto Maple Leafs 48 2 7 9
Totals: 553 115 88 203

Awards[edit | edit source]

  • Played in NHL All-Star Game (1934).

This was the NHL's first all-star game, held as a benefit for Toronto player Ace Bailey. The first official NHL All-Star Game was held in 1947.

Preceded by
King Clancy
Ottawa Senators captains
(Original Era)

1930–31, 1932–33
Succeeded by
Syd Howe

External links[edit | edit source]

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