Tag: City of Vancouver

Riot Breaks Out After Game In Vancouver

Vancouver city council rips NHL over Stanley Cup riots; Do they have a point?


The riots that erupted in Vancouver after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins were one of the most embarrassing things to happen in recent memory. After seeing all the crime and vandalism break out in one of North America’s most beautiful cities all thanks to losing a championship game made everyone feel disgusted that such a thing could happen.

While the Vancouver Police Department report said that their police force was overrun by the sheer number of people, intoxicated and otherwise, another Vancouver government group feels that there’s another group to blame for what happened.

The Vancouver city council filed their report on what happened and pointed the finger squarely not at their own citizens for acting like hooligans but at the NHL for allowing it to happen.


Rod Mickelburgh of The Globe And Mail has the baffling story out of a city that finds a new way to make an ugly situation look worse.

“In spite of four Stanley Cup riots in the last five years, [the NHL] has no approach, no policy and no apparent strategy to work with host franchises and municipalities on this issue,” says the lengthy internal report to be debated at a special council meeting on Tuesday.

“[This] clearly … threatens the value and perception of their brand.”

The city’s criticism of the NHL follows similar barbs tossed at the league by the provincially appointment independent review of the riot, headed by co-chairs Douglas Keefe and John Furlong.

In their report released last week, they said it was “unfortunate and regrettable” that the NHL has no specific programs to help teams “with the kind of challenge [Vancouver] faced that night.”

Concluding that the sport of professional hockey, itself, cannot be separated from the riot, they urged the NHL to work with teams and communities to promote “peaceful, happy hockey celebrations.”

Pardon us but… What?

Let’s get this straight, the NHL is supposed to help the city with how to protect themselves and deal with a massive crowd that at another time in their history showed that they weren’t able to handle losing in the Stanley Cup finals well at all? Shenanigans have been declared.

This the City of Vancouver’s way of passing the buck and shuffling the blame for the insane and foolish violence that broke out to help make themselves look good and the NHL like the big, bad corporate entity that’s forcing hockey and excitement upon them. The NHL is in the business of playing and hosting hockey events. Protecting the people and maintaining civil peace is the sort of job we’re pretty sure the police department would be insulted at being told what to do by the league.

As it is, the Canucks are already going to start working with the city closer to help better manage these events in the future, but the city coming out and ripping the NHL for this comes off as petty and gutless.

Given that the city erupted in violence in 1994 when the Canucks lost to the Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals, this was something the current police department and those involved had to at least be prepared on how to handle. After all, they were going to have a civil disturbance (albeit a joyous one) if the Canucks had won the Stanley Cup this year. With the team being humbled at home in Game 7 after a raucous and mutually agitating Cup finals series, the possibility that there’d be troublemakers looking to use losing as an excuse to raise hell had to be in the back of their minds and there had to be a contingency plan in case things got out of hand.

In other words, the city and the police force not being properly prepared isn’t the NHL’s problem. The NHL doesn’t control the fans and they certainly don’t run the City of Vancouver or any other cities around North America where hockey is played. If the NHL gets in the business of hiring their own private security firms to handle event security then that’s fine, put it on them. For this, however, Vancouver had to know what they were getting into and they had to know based on their own recent history what might happen.

Canucks discuss how they’ll help Vancouver deal with big events, learn from riots

APTOPIX Stanley Cup Vancouver Scene Hockey

Considering how tragic this summer has been for individuals in the hockey worldparticularly enforcers – some might forget that the season ended with an entire city getting a black eye. That ugly night of rioting in Vancouver was especially unfortunate considering the fact that the city dealt with similar issues 17 years earlier, when the Canucks also lost a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

The hope is that even though history repeated itself in a way, the city, team (and even to some extent the NHL) will learn from those awful times. Winnipeg’s CTV took a look at two reviews of the June 15 riots – one was an independent review by retired law enforcement representatives, the other was an internal review by the city of Vancouver – to see how responsible the NHL and its teams should be for managing large crowds that gather for games in places that aren’t considered their designated buildings.

Various sides argued the cases for and against the league and its team taking a larger role in policing large crowds that aren’t at their buildings. Some (including Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson) believe that teams should work along side cities during major events while others believed that the Canucks and other teams would be out of their element.

“I’m very hopeful we see a positive response from the NHL and the Canucks in the event we are in this situation maybe next year,” Robertson said. “I’m hopeful we have a real pro-active role coming from the league and the Canucks so that we don’t see this kind of situation again.”

But business professor Richard Powers questioned why the league or Canucks have any responsibility for what happens outside the arena.

“The club and league, they provide a source of entertainment,” Powers, a professor of business law and ethics at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, said Friday.

“It’s sports. It’s not policing, it’s not crowd control. It’s not their expertise.”

The Canucks responded to the reviews by saying that they will encourage “responsible, fun celebrations” and that they hope to work with the city and province to help them out if they plan on arranging similar events in the future. Here are few excerpts from  Canucks COO Victor de Bonis, via the Vancouver Sun.

“Obviously, the first thing is that we’re committed to working with the city and province in the future to try to help and support them if they plan to do public-viewing parties of our games.”

De Bonis said he was uncertain what the level of support might be, whether it would involve funding for security and police, as well as education and awareness programs.

The latter initiatives, he noted, are a certainty.

“We’re really looking forward to trying to support the recommendations in the report and build programs that would drive success for these kinds of events in the future,” de Bonis said.

When asked about the possibility of shutting down those big, public events altogether – an extreme but understandable notion considering how hard it is to control crowds of “too many people” who get “too drunk” – de Bonis acknowledged that possibility but said that he hopes “it never gets to that.”

It’s great to hear that the Canucks are pledging heightened responsibility when it comes to helping the city deal with big events, although the details seem a bit vague right now. It would be a shame if the sports world needs to cringe every time the Canucks reach such a high level because of worries about riots, especially since Vancouver as a whole responded admirably to that ugly situation.

Click here for a gallery of the riot and some information about the arrests. Hopefully those sights will remain rare for Vancouver and other NHL markets.

Cup Final riot investigation conclusion: “there were too many people and they were too drunk”

Riot Breaks Out After Game In Vancouver

Remember the aftermath of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final? No, not Zdeno Chara’s primal scream; nor Mark Recchi’s last game as an NHLer. We’re talking about the night that a segment of Vancouverites decided to loot and light their city on fire (insert Montreal joke here). In the wake of the disaster, the powers that be thought it would be a good idea to order an independent review of the night’s events. Everyone knew it was a horrible incident that was an embarrassment for one of the most beautiful cities in North America—but why? What caused the night to go horribly wrong? Aside from the Canucks winning the Cup, what could have been changed on June15th to avoid the humiliating riot that filled the streets of Vancouver?

NHL.com is reporting that the independent review’s findings have been released today in the form of a 396-page report. The findings are predictable to say the least:

“Keefe and Furlong offered two major problems from that day — there were too many people and they were too drunk — while offering 53 recommendations for future preparation and prevention with similar events.

According to the report, there were 155,000 people in downtown Vancouver when the Boston Bruins defeated the Canucks in Game 7. There were 446 police officers on duty in the area early in the day, and that number swelled to 928 by the end of the night — more than four times the number on duty when there was a riot during the 1994 Stanley Cup Final and two-and-a-half times the number for the gold-medal game at Rogers Arena during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Keefe said part of the problem was deployment of the police officers was slow in the afternoon and the transition to tactical gear took as long as 40 minutes for some units after the order to do was given. He also noted, however, that a smoother deployment would not have prevented a riot from happening.”

Let’s make sure we have this straight: too many drunken people in too close of a proximity to each other, in an emotionally charged environment, without enough police supervision will lead to problems. Glad to hear it only took two months to come up with that kind of hard hitting analysis.

One of the authors of “The Night The City Became A Stadium,” Douglas Keefe and John Furlong, went onto say that the crowd of 155,000 people was “unpredictable.” To say that the crowds were unpredictable is naïve at best—but more likely disingenuous. Everyone around the hockey world knew there was going to be a huge crowd in the streets that night—common sense told us the crowd would be bigger for Game 7 than they were for Game 5 and Game 6. People knew that if the Canucks lost, there was a high likelihood for civic misconduct. None of this is second guessing: people were talking about the consequences before the game even started.

The report states that the city and police learned valuable lessons from the 1994 riot that followed the New York Rangers Stanley Cup victory over the Canucks. Unfortunately, even though the city was equipped with the lessons of the past, the independent review still had 53 recommendations for the city in the event of a similar circumstance in the future.

Good to know that if the Canucks lose in the Finals again, rioters will have to be more creative than getting drunk and looting with 1,000 of their closest friends.