Vancouver Riots: a National Embarrassment

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What a disgrace.

Before the final whistle had even blown and the silverware passed around, it had started.

Alleged 'fans' of the Vancouver Canucks, afflicted with a combination of disappointment and alcohol, poured out of the bars and into the streets of the West Coast city en masse.

Windows were smashed, cars were turned over and set ablaze. Police responded with amazing restraint, slowly moving the crowd apart using strength in numbers and a few well-placed canisters of tear gas. 

Fires broke out everywhere as the nation, and the world, witnessed the idiocy. Imagine how bad it could have been had the Canucks been victorious.

Unfortunately, the post-game Vancouver riot does not come as a shock. A similar incident happened the last time their team made it to the final in 1994. It's clear that the city's citizens weren't embarrassed enough not to repeat the spectacle.

The only thing I saw that caused any sort of surprise on my part was when I viewed some video footage of the melee. The usual gang of idiots were there, mostly males in their teens and twenties. But watching (alleged) grown men in their 30's and even their 40's stuffing shirts into the gas tanks of cars and lighting them up before flipping them over, or smashing store front windows, or smashing each other, is something I just cannot understand.

I'm sure their wives and children are proud this morning.

Vancouver has now become known for these incidents of idiocy. The Edmonton Oilers made it to the final in 2006, the Calgary Flames in 2004. Like the Canucks, both teams lost in game 7. Unlike Vancouver, however, there were no riots or hooliganism in either of the Canadian cities. 

Calgary's 'Red Mile' became known as the go-to spot for Flames fans during the playoffs that year, and the most controversial issue to arise was the fad of women flashing the crowd. Not exactly vandalism.

The immensely positive image the world had of the city after hosting the remarkable Winter Olympics last year has been erased. The actions of a few have disrespected the majority of their fellow citizens of the city, the province of British Columbia, and Canadian hockey fans everywhere.  They disrespected the members of their own team.

Vancouverites had expected the rest of the nation to jump onto the Canuck bandwagon, and then they set the bandwagon on fire. 

The team itself is talented and it is conceivable they could return to the finals next year. For the sake of the city and the image of the nation, I certainly hope not.