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“The Vancouver Canucks distinguished themselves. The Canucks fans did not,” reports The Vancouver Sun, after the team’s 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals prompts one of the largest riots the city has ever seen, one which leaves more than 200 people injured, and causes more than a million dollars in property damage.
“The party degenerated into a melee,” The Sun reports. “With the streets clogged with people, fights broke out, windows were smashed, and objects were thrown at police.”
As the riot progresses into the early morning, cars are overturned, there is widespread looting, more than fifty windows in the Eaton’s storefront are smashed, and a molotov cocktail is thrown through the window of Duthie’s Books before a riot squad disperses the crowd with the help of tear gas. Ryan Berntt, earmarked by VPD officers as one of the incident’s main agitators, is shot in the head with a rubber bullet, and will spend four weeks in critical condition. In fact, the riot control efforts are so widespread, that VPD officers actually run out of tear gas, and are forced to call in additional supplies.
“I climbed up Joe Fortes to see what was happening,” says eyewitness Liz Parker. “Police helmets were flying and I saw the riot shields come out. I’m really ashamed. I didn’t think Vancouver would be like this.”
By ironic contrast, the headline in the June 13 issue of The Province read: “Police prepared, but little street trouble expected”.
“We don’t anticipate any need for them Tuesday night,” spokesperson Anne Drennan was quoted as saying, “but, should it happen, we will be prepared.”
IMAGE: The corner of Robson and Thurlow Streets during the Stanley Cup riot, 1994. Image courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.