Thursday, June 16, 2011

From Vancouver.

As some of you know, I live about an hour and a half east of Vancouver. I moved to Surrey, BC, 40 minutes south of Vancouver at the age of 11. I grew up (pretty much) in the Lower Mainland. As a few of you know, I'm a rampant Canucks fan. While we emigrated to Edmonton, AB in 1982, I've been a Vancouverite for longer than I was ever an Edmontonion. The Oilers are my #2 team, the Canucks #1.

I want to apologize on behalf of Vancouver. What you saw on your news was a group of young adults planning destruction and then dragging others along for the ride. Some people tried to stop the damage. Some people stood around and took pictures and lived vicariously. Some people tried to get out. Some people just had fun smashing [stuff].  There was talk on Skytrain (our elevated light rail transit) before the game about how they were going to riot win or lose. They packed in moltov cocktails, g8 protest signs, and various items of destruction. They thought it would be cool to destroy and run rampant.

That is not the Canadian way. That isn't the Vancouver way. Everyone I know of is appalled by the riot. They're horrified. And they're all for identifying each and every one of those people and having them slapped with a criminal record. Actions have consequences, and these hooligans should be facing their's. 

The true face of the Canucks fan is the ones who were cheering for the Bruins when they were declared the winners. The fans gave Thomas (Bruins' goalie) a standing ovation. It was a hell of a game and the Bruins played better - they deserved their win.. and while we were disappointed we didn't win, you have to salute the team who just wanted it more. The booing you heard was us booing Bettman. I don't think there's many Canadians who like him.. but even still with our extreme dislike of the man and his actions, we didn't even throw things at him.

It was reported that the first car to be torched had been brought downtown for that precise purpose. Who the heck thinks of these things??

Last night was a nightmare. I'm proud of the police, the paramedics and the fire fighters. I'm proud of those who stood between rioters and those already down on the ground. I'm proud of those who yelled "STOP!" and tried to prevent the destruction and looting. Those are the ones I'd like to think of as the typical Canadian. They're certainly the ones we saw during the olympics.


  1. How sad that a shameless minority has to blacken the eye of a good community.

    I will admit, when I first heard about the rioting, I was concerned that some of my fellow Bruins fans had chosen to be poor winners. I was shocked to find out that it was the supposed fans of the home team acting out, as I had never heard of Vancouver folk as being prone to violence whatsoever.

    Your Canucks were and are a classy team, and I am sure their true fans are just as classy (and I don't blame you for booing Bettman one bit). I hope the ones who did you and Vancouver a disservice are caught and punished severely. That kind of violence has no place in sports or anywhere.

  2. How scarey! I know its not all Canada, we had a lovely time in Toronto!

  3. Well Lorna - a few comments, since we have very similar backgrounds and connections to Vancouver...

    While I don't disagree with you that evidence suggests the riot was kicked off by a small group of malcontents who were pre-planning to turn the game 7 after game into a debacle no matter the result, there are simply far too many photos of well-heeled, privileged, 'regular' Vancouverites who decided that it would be fun to run feral for a couple of hours. These people are also in the minority of the 'true' Canucks fans who either stayed away from the whole powder keg of downtown, or like your dad & brother, exited as quickly as possible, stage left.

    Some Canucks 'fans', however, are absolutely and 100% culpable for what happened. And I think that those of us who really DO care and support the team & the city are better served not by pointing fingers at some other 'group', but to find a way to deal with the situation. Now - if I had that answer, I guess I could run for mayor.

    You also said that what happened is 'not the Vancouver way'. Well, unfortunately, it is. We DO have the poorest postal code in Canada living next to the wealthiest - and you know my political beliefs well enough to appreciate I don't think there is anything inherently 'wrong' with that. However, Vancouver DOES have a (fairly) hardcore group of hyper-left leaning activists, who have a well-established pattern of being willing to employ violence, low-key terrorist tactics, and certainly a blatant disregard for public or private property. I suspect these are the kinds of people who were hell-bent on disrupting the aftermath of game 7, they simply got the wave rolling, and there were enough drunk bozos and other associated idiots to fan the flames. So - until Vancouver does decide to roll up its sleeves, and deal with a problem that is larger than leftist sentiment, deal with a problem larger than the downtown Eastside, or our disenfranchised aboriginal communities, or our homeless, or our drug-addled... I'm sorry. This IS, sadly, the Vancouver way.

    Right you are - there were individual efforts that should be applauded - many heroes in that crowd. But sadly, their efforts are lost in the images of what happened and the reality of the costs - that will add up for years to come, in the form of reduced tourism.

    It is time to take back the city.

    We didn't start the fire... no we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it.

  4. Reposting from Lyle Truden :

    Dear World,

    We are embarrassed yes, ashamed no. Every city has disenfranchised youth. These people that want to cause trouble exist everywhere, and only need a reason and opportunity to let loose their frustrations. Perhaps hockey is a bad reason and we are embarrassed of that sort of unsportsmanlike behavior. What I am proud of is that we live in such a great city that there isn't anything else to riot about. Sure we have our problems like anywhere but for the most part we deal with them peacefully.

    We lost our world class status that we earned in the Olympics? I think not. The news across the world doesn't show that by 8:30 am on my walk to work, the city was back to it's gleaming clean state. By today, a lot of the windows are repaired, and the criminals behind bars. Vancouver is world class because we take the bad along with the good, and work hard to make things better. World class because we admitted first before the world condemned us, that this was wrong, and we were embarrassed. This city is beautiful, peaceful, we stand strong, and do it together.

    Mobs exist, and riots happen. This isn't something that is unique to Vancouver, it's not even unique to sports. Our strength lies in how we deal with it and learn from it. We need to look at punishing, then guiding the people involved in this, to be better members of society. The moment we condemn, and marginalize them, the worse the problem gets. Young people make mistakes, and like anyone deserves, they will be punished, but our path is clear. We will rebuild fast, forgive slowly, and guide those involved to be better sports fans, and better Canadians.

    The Canucks deserve praise. They got all the way to the end. We congratulate our boys, and promise you that next time we will try to do better, just like you will. We also want to thank the police. This riot was bigger than, and contained in half the time of the riot of 94'. We didn't learn the whole lesson, but we learned enough to make things better.

    So please, if you show pictures of Vancouver around the world, and choose flaming cars with young kids, then show the true Vancouver as well. Around the world I challenge the papers to show the young kids, and people of all ages cleaning up. Signing the boarded up windows with respectful, and apologetic comments. Show the beautiful city, back to normal, vibrant, and full of fun.

    That is the True Vancouver! We are all Canucks!

  5. Not my perception of Vancouver or Canada. In fact, if I could handle a slightly colder climate, I would be a Canadian by now. For an infinite number of reasons, but especially for the people.

    We all have a few bad seeds. This pesky thing called free will sometimes backfires. I don't apologize for the gangs killing each other in the Bronx or the junkies stealing and causing ruckus in Brooklyn. You certainly don't need to apologize for some obnoxious sports fans who had way too much to drink at the game and caused more destruction than they probably even intended. Actually, Jade presents a good point, that one would first think it was the Boston fans. I believe they pulled a lesser degree of the same kind of stunt after the 2005 world series. Point is, unfortunately, it happens. No one needs to apologize for it except those responsible.