Dear Canucks Rioters:
You have disgraced me.
You see, I am a well-publicized, card-carrying hater of your team; I don’t hate them because they’re “good” either. I hate them because I have a personal vendetta against a particular fan of theirs. I was rooting against them because of my own vendetta. Additionally, over the past month I’ve become quite attached to Tim Thomas’ incredible skill, and perseverance; I have decided that nobody deserves a Stanley Cup more than Thomas. If it couldn’t be the Edmonton Oilers and it couldn’t be the Chicago Blackhawks, the Bruins’ deservedness was third in line for me. And guess what? They won! I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the series.
I must say though… let’s say the Outcome had not gone in my favour; let’s say I experienced the semi-disaster of the Vancouver Canucks winning their first-ever Stanley Cup. Well… I would have been downtrodden. Similar to the Edmonton Oilers’ failed Cup run in 2006, when I shed real tears after the miserable outcome of Game 7, I would have felt the lull and pangs of depression, having seen the Boston Bruins succumb to a team I dislike tremendously, who exhibited classness (Burrows’ finger-biting; Aaron Rome’s hard-hit on rockstar forward Nathan Horton) and egotistical banter (I’m looking at you, Roberto). However: despite this heartbreak, I still believe it to be firmly – FIRMLY – unreasonable, to start a looting, stabbing, car-burning, car-tipping downtown riot.
I do understand the causes and roots of this riot; a few people who enjoy watching and instigating senseless destruction, did so in a space full of hockey fans in the heat of a moment of strengthened, heightened emotional fervor. For many, no tournament, no priceless, sought-after moment rivals their favourite teams’ acquisition of thee Stanley Cup; I assure you that I understand this – my own beloved Edmonton Oilers have not seen a Stanley Cup since 1990; fans of a team that have never won a Cup are, I’m sure, hungry for that moment. But while I understand the emotion and “purpose” behind this riot, I think you, the “fans”, have taken this heartfelt loss to extreme forms of anger and resentment beyond my understanding.
In the process of your rioting, looting, violence and homemade pyrotechnics, you have actually done only yourselves and your team a disservice; you have made yourselves look like poor losers and this attitude permeates with the team under which sits this culture of bad sportsmanship. The Boston Bruins and their fans won fair and square and instead of being gracious and happy (and frankly, LUCKY) that your team made it all the way to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you have actively chosen to ‘stick it to the Boston Bruins’ by causing an uproar that would detract from their moment. How would you like it if riotous Bruins fans did the same following your own Stanley Cup win? It goes beyond disappointment in your team or in your loss; it demonstrates such little care and consideration for your fanbase, city, country, and ultimately, the team you claim to love.
This issue goes beyond the Vancouver Canucks. What you have done here is made sports fans in general look like classless, destructive hooligans. You are forcing all hockey fans to be placed under an umbrella of “stupid, violent reckless douchebags”, to be blunt. And we’re not. There is a certain class, cameraderie and gentlemanly quality to the nature of sport; your team, the Stanley Cup ‘losers’, who were visibly devestated following the end of the third, mustred up the mental strength to shake hands with the Stanley Cup winners, the Boston Bruins. If the players – those in charge of actually instigating and creating the winning game – those devestated that they themselves were not able to step up to the plate and score goals (not even one, actually) – are able to be sportsmanlike… why can’t you, the “paying customers”, those who don the logo of the team you claim to support? As a fan of hockey, I am offended that you would paint such a negative picture of hockey fans everywhere through your sheer carelessness and idiocy.
Currently, many many people across Canada who have watched these riots unfold on national (and international) television, are thinking badly of all Canucks fans or perhaps even all hockey fans; local Edmonton columnist and author Todd Babiak recently wrote a piece in the Edmonton Journal stating that perhaps the reason for disinterest in this year’s playoff season was the violence inflicted by players on other players; this was an article I disagreed with, but violence within professional hockey has this time, been enacted by fans; likely at least some of the same fans that were deeply offended by the hit on Mason Raymond. I expected more from you; I expected you to take from the concussion-causing hits and illegal shoulder checks, that extreme violence in sport should not be tolerated, nor should it reflect the overall nature of the sport; I expected you to lead by example and hope people could see the “good, clean fun” of sport. You instead, inflicted intense violence yourselves. I couldn’t be more ashamed.
I understand and appreciate that not all Canucks fans reacted to their loss this way, and that the spirit of quality and diligent, positive fandom was exercised by many during this playoff run; however, the needs of some, whose actions were louder than that of those aforementioned fans, have damaged a good reputation and spoiled the Vancouver Canucks’ 2011 playoff run for all; instead of a memorable fight to Game 7 of the final, those across Canada will remember the disgusting riots following a Game 7 loss.
I hope you’re all happy.