Friday, June 17, 2011

Faith lost in Canucks, faith lost in city

B.C Catholic Reporter caught in 2011 riot

This is what '94 must have felt like. Minus the cell phone cameras.

I witnessed two heartbreaks on Wednesday June 15. First I saw my team, the Vancouver Canucks go against the signs, my prayers, and themselves to up-chuck a 4-0 Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. Then this reporter watched in horror as the city began to implode.

The Canuck's appeared to serve as a catalyst to start the riot, but to be honest it started much earlier then that.

I arrived at Hamilton and Georgia around 4:30p.m and the crowd was already riled up. I attempted to meet some friends but just getting through the mass of humanity was a challenge unto itself.Compared to Games 5 and 6, this crowd was hostile, pushy, and just plain mean. There seemed to a be a much different vibe for this game, and I thought to myself as I tried to make my way through the people: "if we don't win tonight, there will be a riot."

Stunned!!! Was is it because of the riot or Game 7?
I didn't end up meeting up with my friends, as it was just too difficult to move through the people. So I settled on the sidewalk of Library Square with a view of the big screen on Georgia and Homer.

Things got a little better from there. The patch I was in was filled with a few families and fun loving Canuck fans. I even met a cute Catholic girl amongst the ranks.

"Maybe things will improve," I thought. Then Game 7 was played, or more accurately forfeited. From there the crowd turned from positive to negative in a hurry. Families knew something was up, taking their kids from the crowds about midway through the 3rd period. 

I then received a text message from one of my buddies. I asked where he was and he said by the riot. I walked around the corner of Georgia and Homer to witness a pick-up truck being set on fire. We met up and went down near the CBC building to see the chaos begin. There were very few police officers amongst the hostile rowdies.

Innocent families rushed away and were replaced by men in their twenties sporting bandannas and masks. It seemed these men weren't even part of the Game 7 festivities, but were laying dormant, waiting for chaos to begin and then charged towards the crowd like the Barbians against the Romans.

I found refuge at my sister's apartment in Yaletown and waited until the cops took back the city before heading home.

The police did a marvelous job considering they were outnumbered by the rioters. I saw no police abuse and any hostility shown by the VPD was against rioters that engaged them first.

After writing two blogs earlier in these finals about the Canucks being God's team, I felt betrayed by the team's loss. However God sees all and maybe Vancouver needs to grow up first before we are blessed with a championship team which would truly resemble a championship city.

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