Issaquah man experiences Vancouver’s hockey riot

June 19, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah resident Erik Richards captured a photo of a man amid the Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 15. By Erik Richards

NEW — 10 a.m. June 19, 2011

Erik Richards, a lifelong Vancouver Canucks fan and Issaquah resident, experienced the mayhem up close June 15 as Vancouver, British Columbia, erupted into a riot after the team lost the Stanley Cup.

Richards — a self-described “huge Canucks fan” — stood among the crowd on Granville Street and snapped photos as rioters lit cars aflame and smashed storefronts.

“There were people running and cars on fire,” he said after returning to Issaquah. “It was like a scene out of a movie.”

The riot started at about 8 p.m. as the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins at Rogers Arena. Immediately after the loss, frustrated fans started tearing signs down along Granville Street, a destination for Canucks fans watching the Stanley Cup finals on a huge screen.

“I kind of predicted that stuff would go down, but I didn’t think it would end up being a full-scale riot,” Richards said.

Then, rioters flipped a car and, moments later, lit another on fire. Soon, riot police stormed down the street.

“I didn’t really have a sense of danger at the time, just because in the moment I was trying to get pictures,” he said.

Teargas clogged the air and a stun grenade, or flash-bang, exploded near the 2010 Issaquah High School graduate. Richards’ friend took a hit from a rubber bullet on the shoulder as police attempted to disperse the rioters.

The chaotic scene after Game 7 contrasted against the celebrations following Game 2, 11 days earlier.

Richards and friends headed north to Vancouver to watch Game 2, and managed to find space in a waterfront bar to watch the match-up.

“That was crazy. After they won, it was like the whole town was just erupting,” he said. “Everybody was honking. It was just a big party.”

For make-or-break Game 7, every establishment in the city seemed to be packed, so Richards and friends watched the game from outside of a bar.

“I was pretty confident that they were going to win the Stanley Cup,” he said.

Officials took steps to prevent a hockey riot after the decisive game. Downtown Vancouver liquor stores closed at 4 p.m. on game day — a step similar to safety precautions taken during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Police and public safety officials enacted the precautions to attempt to avoid a scene similar to the 1994 riot after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the New York Rangers.

Following the June 15 riot, hospitals treated more than 150 people for injuries. Police managed to break up the riot by midnight.

“For the people of Vancouver, I know they all came together the next day and helped clean up,” Richards said. “That says something.”

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3 Responses to “Issaquah man experiences Vancouver’s hockey riot”

  1. Issaquah man experiences Vancouver’s hockey riot - Issaquah Press on June 19th, 2011 11:33 am

    [...] Issaquah man experiences Vancouver's hockey riotIssaquah PressOfficials took steps to prevent a hockey riot after the decisive game. Downtown Vancouver liquor stores closed at 4 pm on game day — a step similar to safety precautions taken during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Police and public safety officials enacted …Canadians 'disgusted' by hockey riotsUPI.comMick Colageo: Parade ends the debate — it's a hockey townSouthCoastToday.comIan Clark's On Hockey: B's cup runneth overThe Union LeaderBoston Globe -NESN.com -Globe and Mailall 22,380 news articles » [...]

  2. Ackthpt on June 19th, 2011 2:58 pm

    If you wait long enough for something to happen, it probably will. If you were involved (present) at the riots in Vancouver, why were you hanging around town? Game was long over, there were no events going on, no street events, nothing. … You were all there waiting for ‘it’ to happen, right?

    Ask yourself this: if the looky-loos just walked away before the rioting started, what would be left? A handful of criminals with no where to hide, no where to go, and no one to show off for. You empowered them, whether indirectly or directly, you gave them their audience, their place to hide, and a reason to continue.

    Next time walk away, Erik Richards.

  3. Erik Richards on June 21st, 2011 2:48 pm

    Ackcthpt,

    As ignorant as I found it, thanks for taking the time out of your day to share your words of wisdom. As a photographer, I would never walk away from an event like this. It was going to happen regardless of my presence. You are absolutely correct about mob mentality playing a significant role in a lot of the major vandalism that happened, why come at me though? I was taking photos.You apparently aren’t aware that photographers being present and capturing the riot led to the arrests of several people involved in the burning of both civilian and cop cars, breaking of storefront windows, looting, etc.

    Best,

    Erik Richards

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