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The Stanley Cup riot was a pointless mess

Last night the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final. An estimated 100,000 people were in the downtown core to take part in festivities -- a number that far surpasses those that flooded the city in 1994. If you weren't a resident of Vancouver that fateful night 17 years ago then you have absolutely no frame of reference regarding the impact it had on the people of the city, most of whom had nothing to do with the riot, and the utter embarrassment that it caused. Broadcast live to the continent on CNN, scenes of morons smashing windows, looting stores, and confronting police were shown repeatedly for days afterwards.


Canucks 'fans' lose the hockey plot

Vancouver riot police and angry young men, June 15, 2011. Photo: breadfacej/Flickr
What happened after the game was neither in the spirit of people at the arena nor the spirit of those who bravely protested the G8 and G20 meetings in Toronto in June 2010.

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Vancouver's hockey riot: How to understand it

Vancouver skyline, June 15, 2011. Photo: Matthew Grapengieser/Flickr

How do we understand the riots that exploded in Vancouver after the beloved Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Finals? How do we understand the burning cars, broken glass, and injuries that stand as an enduring coda of their game-seven defeat at the hands of the visiting Boston Bruins?

Having communicated with several dozen people in "the most livable city in the world" I think I have a modest perspective on why the Canucks 4-0 loss was followed by fire.


Hockey Fans for Peace an antidote to sour Don Cherry

Photo: jodigreen/ Flickr
The right-wing Hockey Night in Canada pundit is out of line -- and we're not just talking about his sartorial tastes.

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Thumbs up to a publicly owned Quebec City arena

A media furore has irrupted in Canada outside Quebec (COQ). Strong local support for the return of a storied NHL franchise -- the beloved Nordiques -- to the provincial capital (disclosure: I spend part of the year here in Quebec City), linked to a request for federal financial support has emboldened editorial writers, columnists, cartoonists, and, undoubtedly, talk show hosts to vent their opposition.

Imagine, the Quebec government has pledged to invest $175-million (or 45 per cent of the costs) in a new public multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility in Quebec City. The Charest Liberals have decided it would be an important asset for the city where Aboriginals met Samuel Champlain in 1608, and most of the people in Quebec agree.

Photo: RicLaf/flickr
| October 21, 2014

The Rogers takeover of hockey (your hubris is showing!)

Photo: flickr/Roland Tanglao

The Rogers takeover of hockey is breathtaking. But I don't just mean breathtaking, and not just takeover. It's more like absorption. The way you absorb food, and transform it so that it becomes you, literally. Rogers has become hockey, or aims to.

Hockey used to have sponsors, which started with Esso back in the day, and broadcasters, which was the CBC. But none of them devoured hockey or claimed to be it. Yet many stories on the new season were about Rogers, not the teams. It's as if Rogers isn't either; it's both, and some mighty new entity.

With Rogers in control, CBC lies bleeding

Photo: flickr/Banff Lake Louise
With Rogers now firmly in control in the Canadian telecom world and its grasp on Hockey Night in Canada, CBC lies bleeding. Canadian media now teeters perilously on the brink of a dark new dawn.

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Canada's game commodified. CBC suffers.

Photo: flickr/Banff Lake Louise

Ice is in our blood. 

Through the years, hockey has helped define this nation. Like the countless lakes and rivers that carve the land just begging to be skated upon once frozen, the collective love for hockey connects Canadians.

As the country has evolved, hockey has endured, seeping into the very core of the culture. The game is treasured. The countless Stanley Cups. The '72 Summit Series. The gold medals in Vancouver and Sochi. What happens on the ice is a point of national pride, along with names like Gretzky and Messier and Henderson and Crosby.


| March 6, 2014
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