While it still remains unclear how much precise damage and the exact number of people who were injured in some way during last night’s riots in Vancouver, the latest numbers indicate that 130 to 140 people were admitted to local hospitals. Many of those injuries were reportedly related to the tear gas and pepper spray used at the scenes, although three people were treated for stab wounds with one person in critical condition. There haven’t been any fatalities reported at this time, though.
Whatever the final, official numbers end up being, it’s a huge black eye for the city of Vancouver (even if the spin dictates that it was a relatively small piece of the populace). The city also rioted in 1994 following the team’s Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers, leaving about 200 people injured in that incident.
While this event probably cost the city millions in damage – not to mention terrible public relations that might impact their tourism? – there have been some moments that remind us that there are good people in that well-liked city. Lesley Ciarula Taylor of the Star reports that 11,300 people volunteered to help clean up the mess that looters made in the city, although it isn’t known if that many people actually followed up on the encouraging drive.
Taylor’s story provided some reactions by local athletes and celebrities.
“World: as you can imagine Vancouver is being embarrassed by a relative few,” wrote basketball star Steve Nash of Victoria, B.C., according to The Canadian Press.
“We’re a great city and have a lot of class. Our team is great and our championship will come. Soon.”
Also on Twitter, B.C. Premier Christy Clark begged rioters: “Let’s not make things worse,” she said. “Time to go home.”
Former B.C. premier and past Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh tweeted: “Shame! “Not the Vancouver I know.”
Musician Johnny Reid urged the vandals to “stop the madness.”
“Trying to figure out why a few idiots can leave an entire country with a black eye?”
Henrik Sedin also expressed his disappointment about the situation.
“It’s terrible,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said, shaking his head. “This city and province has a lot to be proud of, the team we have and the guys we have in here. It’s too bad.”
This ugly incident makes it tough to argue that the city has progressed much since 1994. If the team makes it to a big stage like this – a likely scenario since elite players, for the most part, remain in place – let’s hope that officials are more prepared and fans are less unruly. If that takes limiting alcohol sales and gatherings around big screens altogether, then so be it.