Bloomberg News

Vancouver Hockey Fans Riot, Leading to About 100 Arrests

June 16, 2011

(Updates with number of arrests in first and second paragraphs.)

June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Police arrested close to 100 people after Vancouver Canucks fans broke windows and started fires following their team’s home loss to the Boston Bruins in the deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final last night.

Four people are in hospital with serious injuries, including two stabbing victims, while nine police officers were injured, Canadian Press and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing Police Chief Jim Chu. Some Canucks supporters looted shops and set fire to cars, including at least two police vehicles in downtown Vancouver.

About 140 people were treated for injuries including stabbings and exposure to tear gas and pepper spray, Vancouver Coastal Health, the regional hospital authority, said on its website, adding one patient was in critical condition.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful,” Mayor Gregor Robertson told reporters last night, adding that police were brought in from outside the city to quell the violence. “We will deal with the troublemakers.”

The Canucks failed to win the cup after finishing with the best regular-season record. No Canadian team has won the title since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993.

‘Infuriating’

“It’s upsetting, it’s frustrating, it’s infuriating to watch a team with less sportsmanlike conduct take it home,” Andrew Smith, 20, a criminology student from Coquitlam, British Columbia, said in an interview. “If you are a real Vancouver fan, you won’t lose hope. You will stick by the team.”

Vancouver also lost the 1982 championship series and was defeated in Game 7 of the 1994 final by the New York Rangers.

Last night’s violence stirred memories of a riot in the city after the loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York 17 years ago.

Vancouver fans “are going to take it pretty bad,” said Glen Fuentes, a 21-year-old student from Coquitlam. “Vancouver has got pride.”

Local television reports showed people overturning a police car and stomping on the roof of another, a man being treated for bleeding from his face and police beating a man with batons after he screamed at them for several minutes.

The downtown Hudson’s Bay Co. and Sears Canada Inc. department stores were broken into, and windows at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver smashed. Royal Canadian Mounted Police were outside a Foot Locker store on Robson Street with guard dogs and ordering people away.

‘Always Idiots’

Just before 11:30 p.m. local time, four hours after the violence began, a line of riot police marched along Howe Street near Robson Street to clear the area, firing tear gas ahead of them. Hundreds of people danced and hollered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“You’ve got 100,000 people who are very unhappy,” Fernando Nagleo, 40, a health care worker who was also in Vancouver for the 1994 rioting, said in an interview. “There are always idiots who don’t have respect for the city.”

Staff inside a Chapters bookstore restacked copies of Mordecai Richler’s “Barney’s Version” and Michael Lewis’ “The Big Short” as a crew outside prepared to install new windows today. The front window of the Canucks Team Store, with the motto “This Is What We Live For” was untouched.

The riots were about a year after hundreds of arrests were made in Toronto tied to riots coinciding with the Group of 20 summit in Canada’s most populous city.

Boston Well-Behaved

Before the game, Canucks fans lined up for a city block to get into a fenced off area to watch on jumbo-screen televisions. Some supporters hung teddy bears off the end of hockey sticks, in a reference to killing off the Bruins, or carried homemade Stanley Cups covered in tin foil.

Conversely, Boston police arrested seven people of the hundreds who gathered in the post-game street celebrations, all for disorderly conduct, according to Officer James Kenneally, department spokesman.

“By and large, we would describe the crowd as well- behaved,” Kenneally said.

The Canucks loss was about 16 months after Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal on the last day of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics lifted Canada to a 3-2 victory over the U.S. and the gold medal at the same hockey venue.

“We gotta wait one more year,” said Matt Macris, 19, a restaurant worker from Linden, Washington, as other dejected fans cleared out of the downtown.

Between 60,000 and 70,000 people gathered to watch the decisive game, according to a “conservative” estimate by McGuinness.

“This is a rowdy crowd,” she said in an interview.

--With assistance from Sean B. Pasternak in Toronto and Tom Moroney in Boston. Editors: Dan Baynes, Dex McLuskey, David Scanlan

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net; Greg Quinn in Vancouver at gquinn1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net; Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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