Tag: hockey

Lessons from the Stanley Cup riots

Cleaning up
The clean up

It was a sad day for Vancouver and for hockey fans when the Canucks lost the final game in the Stanley Cup. The sadness was not from losing but from the violence and looting that followed.

We were in England at the time. The reaction in the media there was bemusement. How could a hockey game provoke such strong emotions? And were these really mild mannered, polite Canadians rioting. I think it was this disconnect between the image of Canada and the violence that made this story of such interest world wide.

The next day we were on a flight to Dublin and the man sitting next to me was reading about the riots in the Irish Times. When we got talking he said that the reason he’d been reading the article was because it just wasn’t what he expected of Canadians.

So the perception of Canadians as polite, well-mannered people isn’t entirely true. Such broad generalizations never are true. Hey, even pigeons don’t live in pigeon holes!

Canadians are more complex. Our views of them are to some extent a reflection of what we want to see. If you think they are polite, you’ll notice that. If you think they lack a sense of humour then you’ll find that too.

I noticed that the reaction to the riots was another demonstration of this. People found the cause of the riots where they wanted to. Whether it was alcohol, poor policing, out of town yobs, gang members, or “young people today”. None of these is true – nor completely false.

The reaction I noticed in people in Ireland and England was a shrug. The riots were a blip in an otherwise peaceful and gentle nation. I doubt that many people’s perceptions of Canada have changed.

What about your perceptions?

The match everyone is talking about

Go Canucks
Go Canucks
This week all of BC has been talking about a match, or more precisely a hockey game. If you are in the UK, you probably thought I was talking about a wedding.

Here in Vancouver hockey has been on almost everyone’s mind. The local team – correction the only team – is the Canucks. And they have been battling against their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

The drama has been pretty intense. Each round consists of seven games, with the two teams battling to gain supremacy. The Canucks started out very well, with three straight wins. At 3-0 it seemed nothing could stop us (we all identify with the Canucks, right?) from winning the series.

Not so. The Blackhawks won the next three games to tie the series at 3-3. We had a horrible sense of deja vu – would the Hawks beat Vancouver for the third year in a row?

So the game could not have been more tense, especially when the Canucks lost their 1-0 lead right at the end of the third period. This meant overtime (OT) and the first to score takes the prize. (Memories of the gold medal game from the Olympics).

Long story short – we did it. With Alex Burrows scoring the winning goal, Vancouver could finally breathe again! And celebrate!

Which is what I hear may be happening in England as the royal wedding kicks off. In BC, we have to get up at 2am to join in. Those of British extraction may just do that (I have heard of a few parties being planned). Most Vancouverites are probably simply looking forward to the Canucks beating the Predators in the next round of our trip to the Stanley Cup.

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