Tim Thomas, the first Michigan-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, hadn’t even stepped to the podium when the chatter shifted outside the rink.
Vancouver, which provided images of celebration after Sidney Crosby won a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics, was burning. We had our first real post-championship mayhem of the social media era.
The images, which spread like wildfire in the immediate aftermath of the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final, spoke volumes about what was taking place outside. Suddenly, the celebration fell victim to the sideshow.
“Vancouver is now the Detroit of Canada,” tweeted Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on NBC’s “The Office.”
After a bevy of negative responses on both ends, he tweeted again.
“Wow, I (ticked) off a lot of Vancouverites and Detroit folk. In penance I’m going to tip over my Prius and set fire to it.”
No city is immune to a civic celebration gone wrong, not even Vancouver, with its international prestige and pristine coastal setting. Meanwhile, 3,000 miles away, the Mayor of Boston decided against hosting a Game 7 viewing party at TD Garden just for that reason. Three people have died in sports related mayhem in that city since 2004.
In Detroit, which Wilson alluded too, seven people died following the Pistons 1990 championship. Over 80 people were injured in the celebration following the Tigers 1984 World Series win. Those infamous moments have been rekindled in the various media coverage surrounding Wednesday’s events in Vancouver.
Thankfully that’s history, as recent celebrations around the Red Wings Stanley Cup titles and the 2004 Pistons title have been relatively subdued.
While Vancouver’s disappointment of losing the Stanley Cup took a back page to public shame and embarrassment, it was heartwarming to hear the stories out of Vancouver yesterday. The real Vancouver Canucks fans stepped up, as reported by Canucks.com’s Derek Jory.
“The Bay, located at the corner of Seymour Street and West Georgia Street, typically a window shopper’s paradise, had most of its windows smashed in when looting became all the rage and Thursday it was boarded up like an abandoned warehouse.
These boards explained how while the evening of June 15 saw the worst of us, the morning of June 16 saw the best of us.
Thousands of messages covered the “Wall of Love,” many from people who descended upon downtown Vancouver from far and wide to spearhead a grassroots cleanup effort to undo all that was done following the Canucks Game 7 loss.”
“By late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, groups had already formed on Facebook and other social media sites with the express purpose of rallying residents to help clean up the streets on Thursday.
The initiative seemed to take root among residents who were angry at the way their city was being portrayed, she said.
‘Thousands and thousands of people were downtown helping,’ Nimah Scallan told Canada AM, adding that volunteers were working alongside business owners and city crews.
‘It kind of restored my faith in the city to be honest. …It does make me feel like our community is back on the mend.’
Volunteers helped sweep broken glass and collect garbage as part of an effort that included removing the hazardous hulks of burned-out cars and replacing smashed windows.
After touring the scene on Thursday, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said rioters don’t define the city, and its true representatives are the citizens who volunteered their time to help clean up.”
So Vancouver may not have the Stanley Cup, but they do have something to be proud of. Without any formal call to action, thousands of citizens decided to pick up the pieces and brought tremendous pride back to the city.