In the wake of Vancouver’s 4-0 loss to Boston in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night, the beautiful and serene city of Vancouver was set ablaze with fires set by hoards of enraged Canuck fans. The Associated Press reports that rioters overturned cars, smashed windows and looted stores.
The riots have turned what should be seen as an opportunity for good sportsmanship and a fun, engaging social setting into a scary, violent scene, endangering bystanders, tourists, locals, police officials and those rioting themselves.
"We have a small number of hooligans on the streets of Vancouver causing problems," Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told AP. "It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful and by no means represents the city of Vancouver.
However, the “small number of hooligans” turned the city into a danger zone with four reported (unconfirmed) stabbings and various accounts of unreported injury caused by the uproar. Thus far no deaths have been reported but ambulances were continually attempting to enter the zone with some trouble.
Reminiscent of Vancouver’s Stanley Cup loss in 1994 the riots last night were a major cause of worry for not only local residents but particularly those caught in the cross fire of the angry mob. As it is summer time there were bound to be several tourists in the area and a big game like this was sure to attract several of them. And it can only be imagined the fear of any Boston fans brave enough to turn out to the game.
The Globe and Mail’s Mark Hume predicted such an uprising on Monday claiming:
“City leaders say the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver that shocked the country in 1994 couldn’t happen again, because the city “grew up” during the Olympics, when massive crowds gathered peacefully in the streets.
But crime statistics show that most big events in Vancouver – including the Olympic Games – are marred by background violence that usually involves young men and alcohol.”
It took over four hours for police to calm the situation in Vancouver but the clean up process has just begun. Following the pandemonium, it is safe to assume that this event will have some negative effects on the city’s image, and thus it’s tourism for the season.
View more photos of the event here