By this time we have all heard about the events that occurred in Vancouver following the 2011 Stanley Cup game where the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins. Immediately following the game, enthusiastic fans quickly turned into delinquent rioters, wreaking havoc throughout downtown Vancouver. From violence and looting, to vandalism and arson, these rioters became almost too much for the police to handle, causing them to resort to using tear gas, shields and even police dogs in attempts to control the crowds. The rioters were so out of control that there were even reports of stabbings and many other injuries sustained to rioters and bystanders during the violence that erupted in the city.
Though I expected to hear about a few bar fights between inebriated hockey fans following the game, I was completely unprepared for the events that occurred. The images of the city in complete chaos reminded me of the video clips from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — except instead of hungry and grieving victims struggling to survive, these were grown men and women in Canucks paraphernalia lighting police cars on fire.
My opinion, which I hope is a similar to the general public’s, is that the events following the Stanley Cup of 2011 were embarrassing and ridiculous. Some may beg to differ, but the fact of the matter is that the rioting was a response to the loss of a game. Yes, even our beloved hockey is just a game. Let’s face it, to tear a city apart — especially your own city — because of a game is foolish, especially if you consider the events going on elsewhere. People are rioting all over the world for justice and for liberation, not because their favorite sports team lost.
In all honestly, not only was this a terrible display of sportsmanship but a shameful example of what people en masse are capable of when mob behavior completely overrides all logic and sensibility. The Canadian military is stereotypically classified in a passive, non-confrontational peacekeeping position on the international stage, involved in countries where we encourage unity, diplomacy, democracy and peace. Yet when our own civilians decide that a violent and lawless route of displaying their emotions is appropriate, what example are we setting for the world?
I do not condone this type of behavior, but if this passion is expressed it would be nice to see it directed towards issues that matter more than meaningless entertainment.
Beth Daniel is a former U of M student.