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Canadians Behaving Badly

Written by Shawn Minnix
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After the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals were over, the real story was what happened afterward, with some of the young punks of Vancouver rioting after their team’s 4-0 defeat in game 7. First, the mood started off real quiet and somber, before getting violent, as people began to overturn cars and set them on fire. After four hours of looting, vandalism, and destruction the riot finally began to subside but not before around 150 people were injured and another 100 arrested.

I guess the real question is: why? Why would these people begin to destroy their own city after a hockey game? I thought this only happened in far-away countries—or Philadelphia. But it looks like we were wrong and sadly mistaken, and no less by a team that just had great celebrations for Canada’s Gold Medal in 2010 in the exact same sport.

We all know that in Canada, hockey is life. It’s the birthplace of the sport, and there has not been a Stanley Cup winner north of the border since the Montreal Canadiens won in 1993. The drought has made the fans more rabid than usual, and the despair and outrage culminated in this year’s finals versus the Bruins.

Let’s be honest, the Bruins were the better team in the whole series. Tim Thomas deserved his Conn Smythe trophy. The Bruins handled the Canucks at home three times, and after game 5 would not be denied. Both goalies had two shutouts, but clearly Thomas was the better netminder in the series, as Roberto Luongo struggled mightily.

But for the fans to do what they did at the end of the game is despicable on so many levels. It shows that the mentality of Vancouver is the same as it was in 1994, when the fans rioted after the game 7 loss to the New York Rangers. It shows the city has not learned its lesson from what happened before.

Now, I can understand their motives for being angry. Heck, when the Detroit Red Wings lost in game 7 at home in 2009, it was extremely painful. It’s not something that you just seem to forget about the next day. But, the fans never rioted, and went back to their homes peacefully.  Might I also add that this was on a Friday night no less, making the threat of drunk hooligans more apparent. But, it never happened, and the city remained classy.

Moreover, Detroit did have other chances to riot. In 1995, the Red Wings lost to the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals (they were swept). It’s more in line with what the Canucks had to deal with, because Detroit was on a 40-year drought too, not raising the Cup since 1955. But it wasn’t quite the pain that Vancouver had, and fans would get their chance to celebrate just two years later.

But, to take it to the extent that the Vancouver fans did was incredibly wrong on every level. It makes their entire country look bad, and gives Canada a black eye. The police did a great job in breaking up that fiasco, and they should give the maximum penalty the law will allow for those taking part in the melee. Damage will be in the millions of dollars to be sure, and everyone will remember the Vancouver Canucks this year by what happened after the Finals, not for winning the President’s Trophy and capturing the entire nation’s heart.

Jumping on top of burning cars? Pushing down portable toilets? There is no excuse for any fan that resorts to violence in coping with a loss. It’s funny how a city that had a glorious celebration for their gold medal could degenerate so quickly. But it does show the passionate nature of these Canadian fans who want so desperately to have that Stanley Cup come home.

Now in the aftermath, the Cup is still not coming home and while hearts are broken, they aren’t just broken for the Canucks. The wounds of this riot will be felt well after next season starts, and not just Vancouverites will feel the sting. Many people on blogs wrote that “they were ashamed to be Canadian”.  This will have a major impact the next time the Stanley Cup Finals will be held in Canada, no matter when it is because people will always remember these riots.

Young punks have no business ruining the beautiful game of hockey. I still have much respect for Vancouver’s team, and most fans are good people as well. But, that segment of hooligans should be locked up and ALL Canadians should direct their anger at them.


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