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Did Vancouver's mayor create an environment prone to rioting?

The pictures and videos coming out of Vancouver since last night's Stanley Cup loss are sickening, pure and simple. There's no excuse for people turning a disappointment like that into a mass riot, and in the days and weeks ahead, we can expect a thorough analysis as to what happened, why, and perhaps a piece or two of blame thrown around.

Perhaps the first bit will go to the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, for actively courting tens of thousands of extra fans into the city during the games to watch on huge screens.

What could go wrong, right?

Back in 1997, I was lucky enough to attend the Stanley Cup Final as the Detroit Red Wings won their first Cup in 42 years. It was an incredible evening, and as I walked out of Joe Louis Arena that night, folks were shouting, celebrating, yelling... and one guy kicked over a trash can.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who saw it started yelling at that guy to knock it off. My wife and I went over to Greektown, soaked in the atmosphere with a couple drinks at a tavern there, and eventually headed home without incident.


Because during the game, the police closed off the highways into the downtown area, specifically with the goal of reducing the chance of too-large a crowd assembling afterward and causing trouble. The memory of 1984, the last time a major sports championship was won in the city, loomed large and Detroit handled 1997 much more smoothly.

Vancouver, apparently, failed to learn the lessons of 1994, and certainly seemed to forget everything they put in place to host the Winter Olympics in 2010. Sad stuff, indeed.

Also, as Derek Zona points out, let's stop with this nonsense line being tossed around by many people that the rioters "aren't Canucks fans". That's just a tired, self-serving phrase that denies what we're seeing with our own eyes. Here's video he's running over at C&B: