After a 4-0 NHL finals Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks fans took to the streets Wednesday night setting cars on fire and looting stores. As Cindy Boren reported:
After sitting on their hands in a morgue of an arena as the Boston Bruins clinched the Stanley Cup with a victory over the Canucks, Vancouver fans erupted on the streets of the city Monday night, rioting and burning cars, smashing windows, running amok inside stores and pelting huge TV screens with beer bottles.
Eight people were treated for stab wounds, Alyssa Polinsky, a spokeswoman for Vancouver Coastal Health, the regional hospital authority, told the New York Times. None of the injuries were life-threatening.
The riots, sparked by a crowd of about 70,000 that had gathered in the late afternoon to watch the game on big screens and anticipating a celebration, lasted about four hours. At least 10 cars were overturned and torched. Police broke up the disturbances with pepper spray tear gas and flash bombs.
Steve Nash, the NBA star who is from Victoria, B.C., and is the brother-in-law of Canucks forward Manny Malhotra, tweeted: “Vancouver please stop burning [stuff]. We're a great city and have a lot of class. Our team is great and our championship will come. Soon.”
Unfortunately, there’s precedent for this. When the Canucks lost in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994, there were riots.
The riots in Vancouver followed the loss by the Canucks against the Boston Bruins, who ended a 39-year-old championship drought. As AP explained:
Zdeno Chara thrust the Stanley Cup high above his 6-foot-9 frame, knocking off his own championship hat and nearly falling down. The Boston Bruins’ captain passed it to 43-year-old Mark Recchi, who raised the shiny silver trophy for a third and final time.
Patrice Bergeron eventually gave the Cup to Tim Thomas, who had already lifted the Conn Smythe Trophy moments earlier.
When their goalie took the Cup on a promenade around the Vancouver ice, the Bruins knew it was in the safest of hands. Thomas hasn’t dropped anything important for two full weeks while guiding Boston past Vancouver in a grueling Stanley Cup finals that ended in the Bruins’ first championship in 39 years.
“If they got any chances, Timmy was there,” Recchi said. “It was just scary how good he was.”
Thomas made 37 saves in the second shutout of his landmark finals performance, Bergeron and rookie Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece, and the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 Wednesday night to win the Stanley Cup for the sixth time — the first since 1972.
Thomas limited the NHL’s highest-scoring team to eight goals in the seven-game finals, blanking Vancouver in two of the last four — including Game 7, the only win by a road team in the series. He was an incredibly easy choice as the playoffs MVP, becoming the oldest Conn Smythe winner at 37.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson decried the riots, calling them ‘disgraceful’ and called for calm as law enforcement moved in to disperse the rioters. As AP reported:
Angry, drunken fans ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles.
Later, looters smashed windows and ran inside department stores.
“We have a small number of hooligans on the streets of Vancouver causing problems,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said. “It’s absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver. ... We have had an extraordinary run in the playoff, great celebration. What’s happened tonight is despicable.”
Officers from around the region flooded into downtown, and Robertson said things were getting under control, but the images and atmosphere that persisted late into the night suggested otherwise.
It took about four hours before downtown quieted again.
While Robertson said there had been no fatalities, ambulances appeared to be having trouble getting inside the zone to help the injured. TV images showed at least one woman mopping blood from her forehead.
“You don’t ever hope for a situation like this,” McGuinness said. “You celebrate the good times and you prepare for the bad times and that’s exactly what we’ve done. Unfortunately, the tables have turned tonight. ... We will have to sit down and evaluate exactly what happened here. It’s going to be a black mark for a very, very long time.”
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