First of all I would like to say, congratulations to the Vancouver Canucks who made it to the Stanley Cup finals this year … a fantastic achievement that united Canucks fans across the country.
For weeks, Canucks fever was alive and well in Burns Lake.
The community celebrated every win and consoled each other after the losses …. ‘There’s always the next game’, I heard people say to each other after a loss.
I saw a few cheerful, good natured taunts tossed to local Boston Bruins fans on the streets before a game …. and yes … there are some Bruins fans in Burns Lake.
The extent of the celebrations in Burns Lake resulted in parades of cars honking horns and waving their Canucks flags or jerseys.
What didn’t happen in Burns Lake after the Canucks lost game seven, was senseless rioting.
Not once did local Canucks, or Bruins fans go on a rampage downtown.
After the game seven loss, Vancouver streets were filled with people who, in my opinion, really just used the loss as an excuse to destroy public and personal property.
It was a shameful act of vandalism that has unfortunately been reported on across the world and was behaviour that I am sure the Canucks team would frown upon.
A few of these rioters clearly came prepared with Molotov cocktails at the ready.
These home made explosives are not just something you whip up in five minutes.
Whether the Canucks won or lost they were obviously there to cause trouble.
Watching the riots on television from the peace and quiet of Burns Lake, I saw both men and women using chains, hockey sticks, baseball bats …. anything and everything to smash cars, shop windows, pot plants, police vehicles and each other.
Millions of dollars of damage was done.
Some people were seriously hurt.
One, and possibly more, Boston Bruins fan was so badly beaten you could not see his face for all the blood.
It was simply disgraceful behaviour that was caught on many cameras that night.
I hope the Vancouver police are able to bring those participating in this after game violence to justice.
Like the soccer hooligans in Europe, these people are not really there to support their team so much as to cause destruction and mayhem afterwards.
This type of violence and destruction of property, I am happy to say did not happen in Burns Lake.
In fact all was quiet downtown.
In Burns Lake Canucks and Bruins fans seem to be able to stand side by side cheering on their teams without the need to destroy property when their team loses.
It is always a small bunch of people that ruin things for the vast majority.
Next year, when the Canucks reach the Stanley Cup playoffs again (because of course they will) I would think the City of Vancouver will probably think twice about holding any special events.
This hooliganism is certainly ‘un-Canadian’ and it is not how Canadians want to be portrayed to the world.
Sure Canadians love their hockey, but it is after all, only a game. A game that can be won next year.
Just ask the Burns Lake fans.