Youngblood is, together with Slap Shot, considered one of the best hockey movies of all time. It was about how tough hockey is and how skilled you have to be to make it. But it was also a whole lot of violence, and nobody did it better than Carl Racki.
Racki was played by George Finn, who just happened to be a former OHL enforcer. And he wasn’t the only one. People like Steve Thomas, Don Biggs, Peter Zezel, and James Richmond were all OHL or NCAA players at the time of filming. Two of those guys, Steve Thomas and Peter Zezel, went on to play in the NHL.
The movie also starred Rob Lowe as Dean Youngblood and Patrick Swayze as Derek Sutton, but let’s stick to the heart of the film; the very best enforcer.
Carl Racki was the wild antagonist to Rob Lowe, who tried to make it in the world of Canadian junior hockey.
Finn was a complete goon, and in the first 10 minutes of the movie, he cross-checked Lowe in the face and knocked him out with a sucker punch. And it only got worse from there.
George Finn played the role of Carl Racki to perfection. And he absolutely knew what he was doing. He was an enforcer in real life, playing in the Ontario Hockey League.
Finn actually played with Keith Gretzky in Windsor, where Finn had two 20-goal seasons. He could, however, never find a home in professional hockey. Instead, he became one of the cult heroes for hockey lovers worldwide, thanks to Youngblood.
Some years ago, Finn told the Toronto Star that he still gets recognized now and then, often whenever he watches a hockey game.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime,” Finn told the newspaper, “to see what Hollywood’s all about.”
After the big success with Youngblood, George Finn found himself without an interest in more acting works. And his patience for a hockey career was running thin. So instead, he settled into working life in New York. He worked in environmental clean-ups, and in 2009, he was driving out to a job, and nothing was the same after.
He was struck by another vehicle, and the impact was catastrophic.
“A truck put me through the window,” he said.
He was at first diagnosed with whiplash and a concussion. However, the pain wouldn’t go away, and six weeks later, he learned what had really happened during the accident.
“They finally realized that I had a broken neck, and they said, ‘You’re lucky to be alive,’ ” he said. “I was walking around with a broken neck for six weeks.”
Finn survived, but life never was the same. He has a double titanium rod in his neck, and the chronic pain stops him from working. His hand is often swollen, and his feet are always numb. He lives alone, still in Cicero, New York. But he’s still a happy man.
“I have many friends, it’s very quiet here.”