Ethan “E” Finlason is one of Cayman’s top roller hockey players in a pool of talented youngsters who are raising the sport’s profile locally – and his brilliance has earned him a place in a top hockey academy in Canada.
Finlason was slated to play the men’s league full time starting next month. However, another team offered him a spot on their roster, the Canadian International Hockey Academy in Ontario.
The hockey director – head coach Guy Giouard – saw Finlason at an ice hockey camp and invited him to attend the school right away.
The academy’s goal is to educate and train student athletes. It offers professional level facilities and an elite hockey program, as well as a world-class education. There Finlason will attend classes, train on and off ice, every day. On weekends they will travel through Ontario, Quebec and the Northern States to play games.
Finlason started playing in-line hockey at Kings Sports Centre in the Youth Roller Hockey League, aged 6 in the 6U division. Aged 7, he was moved up to 9U and by 9 to 14U and the Cayman National Travel Team.
Finlason is 13 now and his birthday, on April 29, is the same as his hockey hero Jonathan Toews.
When playing for Cayman, Finlason consistently played his age group and above. By 11, he was put on defense because of his ability to control the play and set up teammates, so it was no surprise that at 12 he was invited to fill in for the men’s league when needed.
Finlason’s coaches say what sets him apart are his fast and skilful hands. He has a tremendous ability to pass and shoot, noted coach Evan Ellbogen. Despite being on defense and so young, Finlason has consistently lead leagues in points and MVP candidacy, having won that honor twice. In addition to numerous local championships, he’s played on two gold and five silver medal Cayman teams in international competition.
For six summers Finlason attended the Chicago Blackhawks Youth Ice Hockey Camps run by Eddie Olczyk and Annie Camins. In turn, coach Annie, who was captain of the U.S. National Roller team, has held annual roller hockey camps at Kings Sports Centre in recent years.
At the Canadian International Hockey Academy, Finlason will be playing alongside another Caymanian, Ryan Lloyd. “We wish E well with his new team and [hope] that he takes full advantage of the opportunity he has been given,” said Rohan Small, the hockey league’s chairman. “And to always remember to represent Cayman in the manner he has to date, with tremendous skill and sportsmanship.”
For kids on island, the fast paced season starts with the intense inter-school hockey tournament this week, followed by the Fall Learn to Skate and Roller Hockey League, which commences on Sept. 21 and runs through to Dec. 12. In addition, there are potential camps and travel team tryouts.
The league is inviting all kids, parents and adult players interested to contact coach Dennis Passchier at Kings Sports Centre, tel: 946-5464, or email [email protected]