17 Jun 2011

Fans riot over hockey team defeat

2:52 pm on 17 June 2011

Vancouver faced a huge cleanup and mounting security questions after furious hockey fans set parts of the city ablaze and clashed with police in Canada's worst riots in years.

The city was plunged into chaos for several hours after the Vancouver Canucks were defeated 4-0 by the Boston Bruins in the final of the prestigious Stanley Cup.

Disgruntled fans set police cars on fire and police in riot gear used tear gas to break up unruly mobs, as hospitals reported injuries from stabbings, falls, head injuries and the tear gas.

Fights broke out in the crowded streets even before the game ended, and by the time the Bruins accepted the cup inside Rogers Arena, windows were being smashed outside, stores looted and fires set.

An estimated 100,000 hockey fans had gathered in the city centre.

Many fans dressed in Canucks jerseys appeared upset at the destruction, with some yelling at vandals to stop.

Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said a small number of hooligans were guilty of shameful and disgraceful behaviour.

Cleanup crews were out in force on Thursday, but downtown streets were still full of smashed glass, scores of businesses remained closed and some bus routes were still not operating.

National broadcaster CBC reported more than 150 injuries in the mayhem, saying the destruction was worse than the June 1994 riots when the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup finals.