In the wake of the riot that occurred after Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup finals back in June, the Vancouver Police brought in an independent panel made up of a former Nova Scotia deputy attorney general and the guy who headed the Vancouver Olympic Committee. Their job: do a thorough investigation as to what happened, why it happened and what can be done to prevent it from recurring. Their report was released this past Thursday.
And what did we learn from their report? Basically, the crowd was too big and too drunk (like we didn’t know that already).
Specifically, there were 155,000 people in that rowdy bunch. They gathered incredibly early in the afternoon, and based on the 68 percent uptick in alcohol sales that day, they were pretty wasted by the start of the game. Sure, there were plenty of police – more than twice the number present for the gold-medal game at the Winter Olympics – but even they were no match for what the panel called “villans and thugs.”
Speaking of the police, they were tagged in the report for a slow response. They didn’t keep up with the crowd, and it took over half an hour to switch to tactical gear once the crowd really got rowdy. The report does point out that even if they’d kept up and had better communication, the riot would still have happened.
I like how the report says the Canucks and the NHL must also take action to prevent this from happening again by promoting sportsmanship and proper fan behavior. Maybe if the ‘Nucks had won that night…eh, they still would’ve set crap on fire. The one thing they didn’t mention is that infamous “riot kiss.” Darn, I was waiting for their findings on that!
They say hindsight is always 20/20, but this is one case where obvious findings are obvious.