Here’s a link to the original article from the Finnish newspaper Vapaa Sana:
Finnish language interests gay-hockey fan
Over the weekend Toronto celebrated both FinnJoy [a Finnish Canadian cultural festival] as well as the enormous Pride festivities. In the Finnish media, the latter is called the “rainbow festival”.
The poor staff at Vapaa Sana were already overwhelmed with all the FinnJoy events, however on Sunday morning I stopped suddenly at all the Pride tents in front of my apartment building, and wondered if by chance somewhere a Finnish perspective could be found.
My first attempt was at the Toronto Gay Hockey Association tent. “Good morning. I am from the Finnish newspaper in Toronto…”. “Oh, you mean Vapaa Sana?” came the reply, in Finnish.
In other words, my shot in the dark hit the bull’s eye. Clearly-spoken Finnish at Toronto’s Pride Day hockey tent.
The one who gave the answer was Craig Rowland. He acquired his Finnish skills on account of his interest in non-Indo-European languages. Craig talked about the numerous trips he has taken to Finland. In addition to Finnish, he also speaks Romansch (Switzerland’s smallest national language).
Craig Rowland’s Finnish was not bad at all. He made no grammatical errors however his sentences came slowly, most likely only to ensure that whatever he said was spoken error-free.
Craig works in a library.
Okay, so what about this gay hockey league, which in Finnish I suppose would be “homolätkäliiga”? There are nine teams in Toronto’s gay hockey league and they play every week during the winter months at York University.
There were some pamphlets in the tent, listing some of the reasons for joining the league, among them the opportunity to play hockey in a gay or gay-friendly environment, “in a harassment-free environment” (which in Finnish is “häirinnästä vapaassa ilmapiirissä”)… But wouldn’t you say there wasn’t any more of this harassment to worry about in Canada? “Not really,” which seems to be the prevailing opinion in the tent. But what about the kind of harassment that you read about in the American media? “No”.
However many young people play in “regular” leagues and it can be very difficult for them to be openly accepted. And in that case, a group like this is very appropriate, as they’re saying at the hockey tent. JN [Juhani Niinistö]
[photo of the front of the Toronto Gay Hockey Association brochure]
The Gay Hockey Association’s brochure. The Association keeps in touch with other similar groups around the world.
Photo caption: Craig Rowland (l) and his boyfriend Mark Hamilton at the Gay Hockey tent on Sunday morning. Craig hopes that Mark will have the opportunity to visit Finland.