Stanley Cup Ice hockey game turns into all out war as the Boston Bruins hammer the Canucks. Angry mob to blame.

June 17, 2011

They are a passionate lot those ice-hockey fans. Normally the preserve of football fans, Tuesday saw violence and rioting descend on the otherwise, peaceful, tranquil, sedate Vancouver Bay area and it was all down to an ice-hockey game. Not any ice-hockey game admittedly, but an ice-hockey game nonetheless. The final of The Stanley Cup – the Champions League of ice-hockey you could say – saw the pre-tournament favourites, the Vancouver Canucks, getting an absolute wooping by the Boston Bruins. The final game of a 7-game series saw the Canucks going down 4-0 to the Bruins. Let the chaos commence.

Following the puck in ice-hockey is becoming more and more difficult

An angry mob that the Italian Ultras would have been proud of soon formed in downtown Vancouver after the end of the game. The first target were some unruly cars that were obviously sporting Boston shirts. They were turned upside down. Next were some shop windows. They took a beating. As the mob gathered momentum and the evenings ice hockey became a distant memory of calm, the sickness spread and the Vancouver riot police entered the game. And its not the first time.

Proof that mob mentality can take hold of even the skinniest, wimpiest looking kid in all of Vancouver.

In 1994 a similar thing happened when, well, a similar thing happened. The Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final and there were some bad losers in town. The outcome of that loss was a city wide riot that left the residents of Vancouver embarrassed, ashamed and the laughing stock of the NHL league; that such a thing should happen again in exactly the same manner is a lasting scar on a city that prides itself on Canadian Mountie goodness. Whether the Canuck fans were solely to blame is unlikely as local anarchists were widely reported to be rubbing their hands with glee when the first goal was scored in the final game of seven.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson described the scenes asembarrassing and shameful” and went on to add that “the vast majority of people who were downtown were there to enjoy the game in a peaceful and respectful manner. It is unfortunate that a small number of people intent on criminal activity have turned pockets of the downtown into areas involving destruction of property and confrontations with police.”

Same time next year? Its a possibility. If the Canucks get to the final and pull their usual bottling job, then a repeat is probably on the cards. With the best regular season record, the best players in the league, Stanley cup favourites and a goal keeper on a 64-million dollar contract, the signs are not good for the cars and shop windows of downtown Vancouver.

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