Peter Bruce Finlay
Born: July 29, 1927 (Montréal)
Died: May 16, 2014 (Ottawa)
In 1946, Pete Finlay became an original member of the Montreal Alouettes, the first of his five seasons in the Big Four.
After playing for the Alouettes in their inaugural season, Finlay joined the Ottawa Rough Riders, where he was used as a quarterback, a defensive halfback and, most commonly, as an outside wing. The Rough Riders played in the Grey Cup game in 1948, losing 12-7 to the Calgary Stampeders in Toronto.
Finlay was a star athlete at West Hill High in Montréal, as he captained the basketball to the city championship and was a key player on the football team, which also won the city championship. He won the Allan Hall Memorial Trophy as the school’s best athlete in 1944. He spent the 1945 season on the intermediate football team at McGill University, as freshmen were ineligible to play on the varsity squad. He then made the leap to the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union in 1946, as the Alouettes replaced the one-year-wonder Hornets as Montreal’s Big Four entry.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound athlete was a top scorer for Cameron Highlanders in Ottawa’s senior city basketball league once he moved to the capital.
He found a jumping talent honed on the basketball parquet also helped him on the gridiron. More than once sports writers noted some spectacular Finlay leap. “That catch by Pete Finlay to close the scoring was a treat,” the Ottawa Citizen reported after a 1949 game. “The outside wing didn’t appear to have a chance on George Gilmour’s high toss and brought down the house when he speared the ball.”
Finlay worked the Ottawa bus system, later known as OC Transpo, for 36 years. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church.