Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hockey Madness in Vancouver

I watched most of last night's Stanley Cup final hockey game. The writing was pretty much on the wall near the end of the second period when Patrice Bergeron made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal on Vancouver's Roberto Luongo during a Canuck power play. Note to Luongo: Karma's a bitch, eh? Guess that trash-talking of Boston goalie Tim Thomas didn't pay off for you. Even veterans like 43 year old Mark Recchi were swarming the Vancouver net minder. Great job, Bruins. I know that my cousin back in Victoria is proud of you this morning as he's been a Boston fan since we were kids and they last won the cup in 1972 with stars such as Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Gerry Cheevers and John "Pieface" Mckenzie. Cousin Derek and the fine city of Boston have waiting a long time for this. Congratulations.

What interests me more, though, this morning is the rioting in the streets of Vancouver last night. I'll start off by saying that I lived in Vancouver for two years back in the mid-80's. Back in the days that I thought that I had a future in the mining industry out there. The city is fantastic and one of the most most beautiful urban centres on the planet. That being said...they have a bit of a problem dealing with defeat. This is the third time that the Canucks have made it to the finals in the team's history. The third time that they have lost. Some may remember their last appearance was in 1994 when they lost to New York Rangers in game 7 in Vancouver. They rioted in the streets after that one as well. They also rioted after the Guns N' Roses concert of 2002 was cancelled at the last minute after Axl Rose failed to show up.

Photo Credit: Ryan Remiorz/CP
As I noted, Vancouver holds a special place for me and they are the jewel in the Canadian crown but this morning, as I look at the damage in photographs online only hours after the game, I'm saddened and consider them the 'black eye' of the country. They have a bad track record. Probably 99.9% of the people on the streets last night (and there were over 100,000 of them) were peace-loving fans who were out to support the team and the fantastic season that they gave their supports. The police need to round up the trouble makers, instigators, hooligans, etc. and parade them in front of the media and set an example. There may be times when civil unrest is warranted, but the end of a disappointing hockey game is not one of them. It's a game. Vancouver, and perhaps all of Canada, needs to examine the underlying issues and try to determine where all of that anger is coming from.

Photo Credit: Wilson Wong/CBC
I'll finish off by congratulating the Bruins fans out there (especially those of Michael Ryder from Bonavista here on The Rock). For those in Vancouver? Yeah, last night sucked. Today will suck too. I hope that those that participated in that madness last night can look at themselves in the mirror today and feel proud. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for you all. I'll close by throwing out a few Twitter messages that CBC had published this morning. Short, to the point, and hopefully a better representation of the feelings of the average Vancouverite and Canadian.

"Watching this riot makes me sad, and sick to my stomach.. What an embarrassment."  annachelsea

"This proves we don't deserve the Stanley Cup. With so many people around to let this happen... Makes me sad." #canucks #riot     shanebee

"In other countries people riot against oppression or for equality, in Canada we don't do any of that..... unless its over a hockey game."     Nathan Jordan

"Today, I am ashamed of the Canadians who have been rioting in the streets for the last 3 hours. It's a GAME. The Christians didn't riot when the rapture didn't happen as prophesied, why is a GAME more reason to riot then? GIVE YOUR HEADS A SHAKE! You have a responsibility first to uphold the integrity of our country's image and civic pride. We aren't animals. We're Canadians."     Dane Martin


Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

I absolutely agree with you, Alan. I was horrified at the news this morning; horrified and ashamed and embarrassed. They showed a young woman trying to sweep up the mess – where were all those macho jerks when it was time to clean up? Argggghh.... Boston was the better team and they deserved to win. Having seen the results of Vancouver's loss, I'm glad the cup went to Beantown.

Laurita said...

The first thing I saw on the news this morning was the riot. It makes me sick to think that this is being seen everywhere today - this is how our country is being represented after the championship of "our" game. It's sad, and disgusting.

On the bright side, social media has made it easier to catch these guys, especially the ones stupid enough to brag about it on twitter and facebook. I hope they're proud of themselves.

Lou Freshwater said...

I was really shocked to see that in Canada - but the truth is when you mix alcohol and sports it can happen anywhere and this is just a reminder of that. You guys have nothing to feel embarrassed about for goodness sakes.


The country who brought you the Bush years and continues to bring you Snookie. ;-)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

We in Vancouver watched our TVs in horror last night. This is not our city. How utterly embarrassing. Many believe it was instigated by the same idiots who rioted during the Olympics. As some newscasters have been saying - how many hockey fans come to watch a game in June with balaclavas in their pockets?

Katey said...

I've heard nothing but praise for Vancouver--always wanted to go. This is really sad. I mean, that's the crap Ohio State kids do after the Michigan game, you know? Grow up :/

Mark Kerstetter said...

Alan (and Cathy and Laurita): I understand how you feel. Lord knows I've been sickened and embarrassed by my country more times than I care to name. I had the pleasure of seeing Vancouver a couple of years ago, thought it was a gorgeous city and had a great time. I know the hooligans represent a tiny fragment of the Canadian people.

Gigi said...

Seeing as how I don't follow sports - I didn't even know there was a game. And would have continued to live with this ignorance - except for the fact that the riots were on the news this morning.

Seems like there's always a few rotten apples in the crowd. I just don't understand it - there are REAL reasons to riot - a game isn't one of them.

Danielle Ferries said...

Geez, that's pretty frightening. We don't get a lot of that here.

Kat said...

I can appreciate how it might be hard for you Canadians to experience a riot...but've had it too good for too long. :P

Truthfully, I'm numb to it. Doesn't phase me at all. Perhaps I spent too many years in Ohio watching OSU fans act like jack*sses? Or maybe it was talking with Packers fans about the 70,000 fans who get drunk and go nuts out there? Or maybe it was growing up in CA and seeing the L.A. riots?

My advice?

1. Never riot where you live. Go to Beverly Hills to riot (they've had waaaaay too good for waaaay too long! Time to bring them down a notch or ten).

2. Like all cities--there will be damages and clean up. But life will go on. Unless, of course, it was your business that got which case I hope you have insurance.

3. When you have random bonfires in city streets--make s'mores.

Sermon over. Peace be with you.

*Side note* Canada gas hot guys and therefor rocks! Seriously, I know several. ;D

John Wiswell said...

Sports leave crowds doing mad things. There's plenty of science supporting the theory that people get swept up and lose degrees of individuality in such times. Never found it as an excuse for this behavior. Sheesh.

Michael Solender said...

a buncha thugs with way too much time on their hands so sorry vancouver's rep got tarnished by the galoots..

Alan W. Davidson said...

Thanks for all of the comments. We Canadians are lucky to have all that support from our American friends (and Danielle).

The clean-up is underway and to the credit of regular Vancouverites and Canuck fans thousands of photos of the riot are being forwarded to the police to aid in identifying the trouble makers.

As Elspeth noted, those who were the catalyst for this came prepared carrying masks and fuel to light fires. Whether Vancouver won or lost didn't matter. The 'anarchists' were going to instigate the unfortunate scene.

I'm hoping that those in charge learn a lot from this and prepare better next time. I'm thinking that a larger 'secure area' would help where those who enter must be screened. If Times Square can control a million people every New Year's then a major city should be able to handle that crowd.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Wow ... that looked crazy. I grew up near (and work in) Newark... Riots have loooooooooooooong been a part of the landscape round these parts.

We Americans, tho, never seem to riot over sports. ;)

Harry said...

I saw some of the footage on Facebook and all the while I was watching I was wondering how these people, most of whom were video-taping with their phones, don't see how stupid they were being. In a time when nothing goes unrecorded, how hard can it be to round up idiots who film their crimes and then post it on Youtube?

Don't take it too hard, I know this is not an accurate reflection of Canadian hockey fans. It's a pretty good imitation of Oakland Raiders fans though.

Sylvia Ney said...

This is so crazy. It amazes me what people can get worked up about, and it's usually the wrong thing!