The biggest story out of Vancouver Wednesday night should have been the 4-0 waxing the Canucks took from the Boston Bruins in the seventh game of the 2011 Stanley Cup final. Predictably, it wasn’t.
Even as Boston captain Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Bruins paraded inside Rogers Arena with the silverware overhead, the usual collection of thugs, losers and knuckleheads began smashing windows, looting, setting cars on fire, fighting with the cops and beating the hell out of each other, staining the NHL’s showcase event yet again.
Many news reports referred to the participants, some of them fuelled by booze, some by stupidity, others by opportunity — many, no doubt, by a combination of all three — in the ensuring clash with the Vancouver police force as hockey fans. Not so.
Last night in Vancouver, as was the case in Edmonton during the Oilers run to the seventh game of 2006 The Cup final, a handful of louts and society’s bottom-feeders grabbed the headlines and another 15 minutes of infamy with their mindless mayhem, all of it duly documented by news outlets and social media. Fans? No.
The actual "fans" at the event saluted their beaten Canucks, the Bruins and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas inside Rogers Arena and then made their way home, or at least tried to, disappointed after a third failed appearance in the Stanley Cup final, but not inclined to light things on fire, overturn cars or kick anybody in the face.
That was left for the pitiful one-percenters.
Without a Stanley Cup parade north of the 49th parallel since 1993, when Montreal hoisted the silverware, Canadian fans have had nothing to celebrate. So the party, be it in Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary too often turns ugly because of a small element hell-bent on making it so.
All too often, even in victory, the combination of too much booze and too many mouth-breathers results in what we saw last night in Vancouver, where more than 100 people were treated for injuries and the damage is still being estimated.
Personally, having watched the highlights, I thought police in Vancouver showed too much restraint and came up light on the application of billy club and shoe leather in dealing with the relative few who decided to trot out their pathetic act yet again, but I digress . . .
In the end, what should have been the highlight of the 2010-11 NHL season became another lowlight, thanks to the one-percenters. We’ve seen it before in varying degrees, here on Whyte Avenue and on the Red Mile in Calgary, and we’ll see it again.
They aren’t fans.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.