Canada goes to war with itself after losing the Stanley Cup Finals.

Canada goes to war with itself after losing the Stanley Cup Finals.

The meaning of despair: when your team fails to take home the pennant. The meaning of retaliation: when the team’s fans go to war with themselves.

All very important things to consider when hockey is a proxy for the life you should be living instead. But then again, I’m not a Canadian sports fan…

ctv.ca: Police struggled to get control of violent crowds who smashed store windows, overturned cars and set bonfires in downtown Vancouver late Wednesday, hours after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final 4-0 to the Boston Bruins.

Three hours after the game ended, several vehicles were burning across the downtown core, including a BMW parked outside the Hudson’s Bay store at Seymour and Georgia Streets, where looters took advantage of broken windows to grab handfuls of merchandise.

As night fell, thousands of people remained on the streets despite repeated pleas from law enforcement for them to go home. Mounted units and reinforcements from the RCMP were called in to assist in efforts to disperse rioters. Bridges into the city were closed, and some bus and train services were halted to prevent the unruly crowd from growing.

Which begs the ultimate question: can a game of hockey really set off so much animosity, or is there some other underlying feeling that isn’t getting played out in the Canadian psyche? But then again, who said you need to be Canadian to get wound up when your team doesn’t beget you the sense of accomplishment you’re looking for in life?

Anyone for a game of cards?

  • Pingback: At last, puck freedom day is here - Ottawa Citizen

  • John

    I think you are on to something here– let me offer a suggestion.
    I believe that what was played out last night was several years of frustration Canadians feel about the loss of their sport. Like it or not, hockey is on of the few defining features of Canada to the outside world. Many years ago, hockey reflected many of the best defining traits of Canada. It was a sport for the strong – both physically and in terms of character. It was played outside in weather that us Americans were afraid of. It was played by big, strong immigrants from places like Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat and London. But most of all, it was played by a set of rules that defined chivalry in a way that no other sport does. You play hard, but never to harm. Fighting was okay, but only if the players were equally matched. Run over a vulnerable player like a goalie or a little guy? You would have to answer to the other players. It looked brutal to Americans, but Canadians knew that every hit and every fight had a deeper connection to a defined sense of justice. It was a tough, but just sport, just as Canada is a tough, but just place.

    Then the Americans took over. The sport was moved from places like Winnepeg and Quebec City to places like Phoenix and Orlando. Disney named a team after a stupid movie. The rules were changed to take the chivalry out. One of the most successful Canadian businessmen was not allowed to buy a failing team and move it back to Canada where it would be successful. And then the worst thing of all happened– the league started to fix games.

    Anyone who has followed hockey closely for 40 years, like I have, knows that the NHL has started to fix games to guarantee favorable outcomes for particular places. Want to market to to south? Make sure Anaheim and Tampa Bay win the Stanley Cup. Want to promote the league based on one player? Make sure Sidney Crosby’s Penguins win. Want to expand your market base? Give the Cup to the third largest American city– Chicago. Want to continue to make sure that Canada can’t argue for a franchise? Make sure Vancouver doesn’t win. Betman did this with the NBA and he is doing it with the NHL.

    The games are clearly fixed if one looks at the timing and the types of penalties that are handed out. Take the Red Wing/Penguin series. A team that was rarely penalized suddenly began taking frequent penalties. The Penguins had numerous 5 v 3 opportunities. Red Wing players were routinely tossed out of the faceoff circle, for no apparent reason, other than to guarantee Penguin puck possession.

    Of course, the Vancouver series brought everything to a head. A Montreal player had been nearly killed by a purposeful, illegal hit when he had his back turned and the offending player from Boston received no penalty. Vancouver player performs a legal check a split second too late and he is thrown out of the Stanley Cup finals. Boston seemed to get many 5 v 3 opportunities in early periods, even though Vancouver is notorious for being a clean team.

    Vancouver, and Canada, have been robbed of the Cup and robbed of their game. It no longer has the tough, but just, integrity of the country that invented it. It has become another capitalist tool in the hands of the southern, unjust neighbors. So, yes. I think it did tap into something deeper. I’m not a fan of their expression of anger, but I’m pretty sure I know where it came from.

  • Pete

    John, don’t toss this off on Canadians. This happened in Vancouver. This is all on Vancouver! Getting sick of this riot being scapegoated on ‘Canada’s Cup deficit’ or anarchist ‘men in black’ paranoia.

  • LossofGame?

    I disagree. I don’t think anyone really feels that Canada has been robbed of its sport. We still win in the olympics, and there are more Canadian players on the Boston line up then Vancouver. I think it’s straight up lets have a riot for the sake of having a riot (that may not make sense to you, but then I assume your not a 21 year old male). It’s was the thing to do, if you can’t party a win, party a loss essentially.

    I also don’t believe you, or anyone else, when they imply that it’s “fixed”. OI think that is equally as disgraceful as rioting in itself. It may not be as damaging, but shows the inability to accept a loss. Anyone cheering for any team is going to think the refs are biased when it is there team getting penalties. Refs will probably call penalties against a team that is up n the series more, because they shouldn’t be doing dirty plays. It’s uncalled for, and the refs at that point need to send a message saying your already winning, stop trying to get people hurt.

  • VanBill

    Two words why your wrong John: Tim Thomas. The Bruins played good hockey and Vancouver players started to dive like a Brazillian soccer player. They were out-matched, out-goaled, Luongo was a deer in the headlights and if anybody is guillty of f@cking with the goalie its the Canucks.Glad they got it, they deserved it, and after last night (witnessed first hand, I live downtown) I think Vancouver should lose its franchise. The fans here aren’t responsible enough.

  • Sarah

    I agree with many of the things posted here, but disagree with a great deal. First, the headline. This wasn’t Canada, this was Vancouver. And this wasn’t Vancouver, it was a bunch of residents. Blaming this on “Vancouver” is such a generalization. This wasn’t a riot about hockey, this was a riot because it happened in 1994 and some people, MOST people, who weren’t even alive or old enough to be out of diapers just wanted an excuse to cause trouble. To say the fans here aren’t responsible enough is also a generalization. Almost everyone I know is a Canucks fan, many of them downtown that night, and not one of them involved in that. They got out of town the second trouble started. Let’s be honest here….the fan zones were great ideas, but at the end of the day the worst ideas ever at the same time. You should learn by experience. Did they think that 17 years later people were going to be different? No matter where you go, if it’s happened before it will happen again. We have a strong military presence in Vancouver. My family and friends are part of it. They would love to be out there policing the street.

    I think if this were to ever happen again (us going to the finals…), there should be very strict ground rules laid out. Posted at events. Made clear to the public in many fashions so if you say “oh I didn’t know about them” You can say “tough!”….so as to avoid law suits. I think if the fire department, for one, were able to let loose with their hoses at full strength that would do wonders. It works in riot control in many other countries.

    That being said, residents from across the GVRD came together and cleaned up the streets. yes, it shouldn’t of been necessary. But if you look at all of the videos out there of people who tried to stop things and got hurt by it, youll notice all of those people with cell phones taking pictures and video. Now think about how this all could have been avoided if all of those people had not stood by and took video, but actually tried to stop it? If you saw one person trying to stop it, and you get your group of friends to step up with you and all of the sudden there are 5 of you…people will follow suit. No one stops to help anymore because of the chance that you could get injured or even killed. It’s a scary world to live in.

  • Pingback: Woe Canada as Bruins win Cup – Hutchinson News | Canada Focus