Unfortunately, the parallels between today’s Vancouver Canucks and the 1994 edition extend beyond a Game 7 defeat all the way toward a violent reaction.
Vancouver authorities were optimistic that Canucks fans wouldn’t riot whether the team won or lost in Game 7 tonight, but it doesn’t look like they got their wish. While it’s unclear how severe the rioting was at this time, it seems like some Canucks fans reacted to their team’s 4-0 loss in a way that continues a sad pattern from 1994. Seventeen years later, they expressed their anger regarding tonight’s defeat by rioting.
The Associated Press captured a scene in which “parked cars were set on fire, others were tipped over and people threw beer bottles at giant television screens.” (You can view some “raw video” of the scene in this YouTube clip. CTV also has a dispiriting feed of the violence.)
Again, it’s unclear at this time how bad the damage was and how many people were injured. The New York Times archives reveals that 200 people were injured during the 1994 riots, but hopefully that situation was more severe than tonight’s ugly incidents. Hopefully no one was seriously hurt during this extremely negative reaction, but it’s a sad moment whenever such a thing happens.
We’ll keep an eye out for updates regarding these regrettable riot-like acts with the hope that we’ve already seen the worst. Perhaps some day fans can find a better way to release their (likely alcohol-fueled) emotions, whether their teams win or lose.
Update: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson released this statement.
“It is extremely disappointing to see the situation in downtown Vancouver turn violent after tonight’s Stanley Cup game. Vancouver is a world-class city and it is embarrassing and shameful to see the type of violence and disorder we’ve seen tonight.
The vast majority of people who were in the downtown tonight were there to enjoy the game in a peaceful and respectful manner. It is unfortunate that a small number of people intent on criminal activity have turned pockets of the downtown into areas involving destruction of property and confrontations with police.
The Vancouver Police and Vancouver Fire Department are doing an exceptional job under challenging circumstances to maintain control of the situation and keep people safe, and emergency crews are working tirelessly to assist those who were injured.
The priority is public safety and ensuring that people can leave the downtown area to make their way home without further incident. Transit is operating at full capacity.
I urge the public to remain calm and to stay away from central downtown in order to assist police in restoring safety to our streets.”