It all started with an overturned car. Then some fire. And then more overturned cars and more fires. Oh, and don’t forget all the looting and fighting either.
As over 100,000 people packed downtown Vancouver Wednesday evening to cheer—or party—as their Canucks faced Boston in the deciding Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the cheering turned sour quickly. And then turned violent.
But the spectating never stopped.
The Canucks lost 4-0 on their home ice and just minutes after the final horn blew a few blocks away at Rogers Arena, one of four closed-off viewing areas on Georgia Street downtown experienced the first mayhem. A group flipped over a car and danced atop it. Then they lit it on fire.
Blue fencing, which was used to keep alcohol out of the viewing areas, was torn down and turned into a makeshift battering ram, keeping the Vancouver riot police away from the drunken mob.
Hockey fans turned to mob fans and gathered around the violence. Some took to climbing building awnings and transit stops to get a better view for their photos and videos.
To turn the riot upside down, crowds flipped over at least two police vehicles. And they lit those on fire too. More small trash fires littered the garbage-strewn streets and fights broke out in the crowd.
Others decided stealing was their game of choice for the night, smashing a variety of windows and looting The Bay department store—among others—by walking in through the broken glass and out with chairs, cosmetics and whatever else was still left.
Police forces from the region were called in to help quell the crowds, using tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse folks. The city shut down the routes into the downtown core and BC Transit even had to stop bus service in the area because of the riots. SkyTrain service was at “crush” levels and thousands attempted to get out of downtown.
Apparently losing a hockey game is something to destroy a city over.