SEATTLE — The city of Vancouver erupted in violence after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins.
Fires broke out, riots and looting spread, and hundreds were either hurt or arrested in the melee.
The Vancouver Police Department gave the Bruins a police escort to get them to the airport and back home safe.
After the game, many people were left very dissapointed in Vancouver. The city had set up giant televisions on the streets so people could watch the game outside. At the previous games, the crowds had dispersed safely and quietly, even after the games where they had lost. This wasn’t the case last night. The Canadian Broadcasting Company showed a live feed from their building in Vancouver, and some footage from their on-street reporters. The video’s showed a few interesting things. The reporters noted the fact that a lot of the rioters had face masks already so when the police started to use tear gas, its evident from the films that they just pulled them up. This makes it seem that at least some of the rioters planed for a riot when they went to the game.
The video’s showed the rioters flipping cars, and burning them, including two police cars. They also broke into multiple stores including The Hudson Bay Center, a department store, stealing bags and starting fires in the store. Looting was also reported at Future shop, Sears, and London Drugs, with people running out of stores with armfulls of products.
Police could be seen throwing teargas and concussion canisters at the crowds to get the people to move. Officers then just slowly walked forward a few feet to move the crowd along, paused and then repeated.
In 1994 the police caused problems during the Canucks’ Finals loss to New York. Police were accused of being too aggressive, and this time they might have been too lax, as they showed a lot of patience, trying not to instigate the crowd.
The Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Angus Bethune Robertson said that four fires were burning in the downtown area several hours after the game ended.
He called riot the work of a small group of troublemakers who were intent on trashing the party right from the beginging. He said it was “shameful and despicable for a world class city like Vancouver.”
He said the rioters “came down here looking for trouble, and have really turned it into a mess.”
Bradley Ouellette is the Blast West reporter for Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.