Party politely please, police tell Canucks fans
Published Monday, April 11, 2011 3:01PM PDT
Vancouver Canucks fans should be enthusiastic while cheering on their team during the Stanley Cup playoff run, but behave themselves, Vancouver police warned Monday.
Const. Lindsey Houghton said the force expects thousands of people from all over Metro Vancouver will storm downtown streets to cheer on their home team beginning Wednesday night, when the Canucks begin their series against longtime nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks.
He says fans should make sure they are responsible when they come downtown to party, especially if they choose to celebrate with booze.
"Canucks fans have been waiting a long, long time for their players to be hoisting Lord Stanley's cup over their head," Houghton said. "We want people to celebrate responsibly in our community."
The VPD plans on having an increased and highly visible presence during home games, hitting the streets early in the evening as part of a "meet and greet" strategy.
Houghton said alcohol is often a factor in disturbances and officers will be enforcing liquor laws at their discretion.
"If we're seeing a lot of people coming out blatantly ignoring liquor laws, causing disturbances, mischief, mayhem, I think the public will expect us to rein people in," he said.
"If you're walking down the street holding a can of beer we'll probably be asking you to pour it out."
During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the VPD shut down many downtown liquor stores early in an effort to curb rowdiness brought on by excessive drinking.
Tristan Vanin of the Dover Arms pub in the city's West End, which was shut down several times during the Games for security reasons, said each closure cost a few thousand dollars in sales.
"And then we had to lay some of the staff off. So yeah, everyone loses," he said.
Vanin says he's happy to work with the VPD in the name of security, but wants the force to make a case that it's necessary for them to shut down their store before they close the doors.
"I think that they should do is take it game by game and round by round and take it from there," he said.
Houghton said it's too early for police to speak about potentially shutting down liquor stores early on home game nights.
In 1994, the streets of Vancouver turned violent after the Canucks lost in Game 7 to the New York Rangers during the Stanley Cup Finals. The riot resulted in more than $1 million in damages to downtown Vancouver businesses, including more than 50 windows smashed at the Eaton's department store.
Police fired tear gas into the angry hordes and as many as 200 people were injured. One man who was shot with a rubber bullet filed a lawsuit against the city. It was later dropped.