A Brief History of Fan Rioting: Vancouver Was Just a Copycat

A number of rowdy sports fans can be interesting character studies, that is, if you choose to spend more than three-and-a-half seconds on such a venture. I’m not sure about you, but my time is currently being invested in watching paint dry. Like a Marilyn Monroe movie, some of these individuals like it hot. Others though, prefer to have their Molotov cocktails on the rocks. Regardless, there is a particular segment of the sports-watching population that feels elation or anger over the results of a championship game is a dish best served with a blunt object thrown through the window of a storefront.

The latest band of louts choked the city of Vancouver into requiring the Heimlich maneuver, following the Canucks’ Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins. In so doing, the city saw its behind suffer a de facto paddling which ensured its place in the world fraternity of cities for which the only requirement of membership is a large band of ne’er-do-wells hell-bent on using sports as an excuse to rid the local Sears of its supply of vacuum cleaners, weed whackers, and inexpensive electronics equipment.

This is not exactly a very new tradition. Europe’s band of soccer hooligans has been stirring up mayhem for years. Though the rules of soccer confine the game largely to feet, it hasn’t stopped the sport’s Guinness-fueled patrons from using hands, flares, and tire-irons to accomplish their goal. Presumably, bearing witness to a 90-minute scoreless tie drives people to do less than law-abiding things. However, if spending an hour-and-a-half of your life watching something where no one scores was the requisite for a riot, then there would be a wealth of pillaging at any of the locations I’ve ever been to while scouring for single women.

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Scott Jones and Alex Thomas are the Vancouver Riot Kissing Couple

This incredibly bizarre photo of a couple kissing in the streets of Vancouver while folks rioted in the city had the internet buzzing all day Thursday:

The sheer juxtaposition of the actions was mind boggling; how in the middle of all the emotionally-charged anger and violence was such a serene, loving act taking place? There was an instantaneous thirst for information about the photo, and some people even wondered if it was real.

Much like any other photo that became a worldwide internet meme, the stars of the picture have been identified. An Australian woman in Perth told Nine MSN that the man in the picture is her son. From their site via FOX Sports:

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Vancouver Riots After Canucks Lose Stanley Cup to Boston Bruins

Just like in 1994 when the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final to the New York Rangers, the city of Vancouver rioted after the Canucks lost Game 7 to the Bruins. If this were anything new, we wouldn’t already have a tag for fans rioting here at LBS. The good news is at least Vancouver saved their riot for after the Stanley Cup Final unlike Montreal which celebrated too early last year. Anyway, the Vancouver riots contained your annual dose of fires, car flips, riot gear, and fist fights. Here’s a sample of what went on:

Here are pictures of cars getting flipped:

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Riots End Greek Basketball Finals Early

As if hearing that there was a fan stampede in South Africa on Sunday at a World Cup tuneup game wasn’t bad enough, the news got even worse in Greece on Sunday. Powerhouses Olympiakos and Panathinaikos were playing in the Greek basketball league finals but the action got disrupted by rowdy fans. The game was actually called with a minute left and Panathinaikos was given the title with a 76-69 win. In the video below, you can see some of the crazy fan behavior that resulted in the Panathinaikos players being escorted off the floor as flares were flying by. At the 3:00 mark, you can see a flare get tossed towards the Panathinaikos bench. Here’s the Greek basketball finals rioting video:

Sadly, what you saw in that video was only a fraction of the negative actions from the Olympiakos fans and apparently this is the second straight year this happened when the teams met in the playoffs. Here are more details from Rotoworld:

The Greek league finals were cut short on Sunday when agitated Olympiakos began rioting, throwing plastic bottles, arena seats which they had ripped out, and even a flare directed at players and coaching staff of rival Panathinaikos … The game even started 40 minutes late after more than 200 fans without tickets invaded the arena and clashed with riot police, who used tear gas. The abandonment, just 1:03 before the end, handed Panathinaikos its eighth consecutive Greek title and 12th in the last 13 seasons.

And I thought the Malice in the Palace was bad. We’re nothing compared to that.

Video Credit: YouTube user Georgepps6

Habs Fans Need to Calm Down

The Cinderella story of the 2010 NHL playoffs has been the Montreal Canadiens. So far, they have forced two Game 7s and eliminated the Washington Capitals in the quarterfinals and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the semifinals. On Wednesday night, they had to go on the road to knock out the Penguins, a trend that continues throughout these playoffs.  But the celebrations in Montreal turned into havoc after some fans got a little too excited.

Immediately following the game, fans poured out onto the streets of Montreal. Most of them went to the police designated “festive zone” but there were a few hundred whose excitement turned violent.  Montreal police said that some of these fans attacked them and threw bottles at them injuring a policewoman and a horse. Others decided to loot a Foot Locker store among other places.

I know it’s exciting for the underdog to not only defeat the Caps but also the defending Stanley Cup champs but was this really necessary? I mean looting, attacking police, starting fires and who knows what else just because your team advanced to the finals? Montreal, you have not won anything just yet. And even if you did, what is the point of destroying the city that you are supposed to be celebrating for? You’re embarrassing yourselves and your team. So for the sake of the city of Montreal, leave the lighters and bottles at home next time.

Here’s a video of the Montreal riots after the Canadiens’ Game 7 win:

Habs post-game Violence Blamed on Minority [CBC News]