A Russian plane carrying a team of players from the Lokmotive team of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) crashed Wednesday killing most passengers. Fourty five were on board including former Canuck Pavol Demitra and NHL veteran and coach Brad McCrimmon. Of the two survivors one is player Alexander Gamilov and the other is a crew member. Both survivors are in critical condition. The plane was headed to Minsk for an opening game. According to reports, the plane took off with clear and sunny skies. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sent his condolences to the families of those killed in the crash. “Though it occurred thousands of miles away from our home arenas, this tragedy represents a catastrophic loss to the hockey world — including the NHL family, which lost so many fathers, sons, teammates and friends who at one time excelled in our league,” he said in a statement.
A violent group of Canuck fans left a black mark on Vancouver’s world-class cityscape last night after the Vancouver Canucks lost the final run for the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins.
Devastated fans poured out in thousands from the downtown core to go soothe their shattered dreams while the rest, broke out into an ugly mob. This shameful scene of overturned cars, burning vehicles, broken store windows, mobs looting the Granville strip, and throwing of skids, bottles, Canucks gear and anything else in arms reach put Vancouver into the history books in the most embarrassing way possible.
The outrage started in front of the Canada Post building when a group of youth overturned a vehicle and jumped on it before setting it ablaze. Another fire was started to burn towels, garbage and Canuck memorabilia. Multiple fires were ablaze throughout the downtown core, including in overturned port-a-potties, garbage cans and store displays.
At least a hundred riot police were stationed at every corner within minutes, trying to push back the rioters and to get onlookers to run to safety. This invited the crowd to then start throwing anything and everything at the barricade and fights between rioters and police soon broke out.
Hundreds of flailing arms attached to smart phones were photographing and filming the event. Tweets about “running for your life” and “overturning cars” and “making history” flooded the Twittersphere.
The following morning, volunteers helped to clean up the mess left behind. Gloves, bags and brooms were handed out all around the downtown core.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson blamed the riots on “a small number of hooligans” and called the scene “absolutely disgraceful.”
Although the police were more prepared than they were during the riot of 1994 when angry fans rampaged the city after a similarly devastating Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers, they were not able to prevent the burning of 15 cars, two of which were police cars as well as large scale looting in the Hudson’s Bay Company, Coach, Chapters, and London Drugs among others.
Nine police officers were injured. According to Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu, “One officer required 14 stitches to the head to close a wound he suffered after being hit by a thrown brick while he was trying to stop some looters. Another suffered a concussion and some officers were treated for human bites.”
Despite the chaos of last night, Chu stated that he was pleased that the strategy planned by the Vancouver Police was successful. He also offered up a stern warning for those involved in criminal acts. “I also want to assure our citizens that no one comes into our city and creates this kind of mayhem and destruction with impunity.
The Vancouver Police Department is looking for any clues and photos to properly prosecute the rioters. If you any photos of last night’s ugly turn of events, please upload them on the Facebook page: Vancouver Riot: Post your pictures or at www.identifyrioters.com