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Vancouver residents ponder reasons for Stanley Cup riots

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Some Canucks fans admit behaving badly
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Facebook page asks for help in identifying instigators
  • Chief blames"criminals and anarchists" for postgame melee
  • Hundreds of Canucks fans take to the streets; vehicles are overturned and set ablaze
  • Mayor Gregor Robertson calls the incident "absolutely disgraceful and shameful"

(CNN) -- Hours after a crushing Stanley Cup defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins, Vancouver residents on Thursday were trying to come to terms with the reasons their city had again exploded in riots.

"It's totally unlike Vancouver," said Jennifer Richie, bar manager at the Wicklow Public House bar and restaurant. "Just too many people had too much to drink."

She said fire and smoke billowed in and around adjoining neighborhoods near Rogers Arena, where hundreds of angry hockey fans rampaged after the loss.

"I'm a little ashamed to live in Vancouver right now."

The incident echoed a 1994 Vancouver riot after a Stanley Cup loss to the New York Rangers, which caused widespread damage that resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Gallery: Vancouver fans riot after loss
Hockey fans rampage in Vancouver
Upset hockey fans set fires
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Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu is blaming "criminals and anarchists" who, he said, disguised themselves as Canucks fans for the riots.

"These were people who came equipped with masks, goggles and gasoline, even fire extinguishers that they would use as weapons," Chu said of Wednesday night's melee.

Nearly 100 people were arrested, according to Deputy Mayor Raymond Louie. Fifteen vehicles were damaged after the home team lost the hockey championship to the Boston Bruins.

"We have more than 100 tips that include video and photographs of the individuals involved in the riot," Louie said Thursday. "We will investigate and prosecute individuals involved in last night's activities. They do not represent Vancouver, and we thank the people that came out this morning to help clean the streets."

Among unofficial Facebook pages set up after the violence was one soliciting cleanup help and another asking readers to report riot "morons."

One city restaurant manager called the turmoil "disappointing."

"I'm proud to be from Vancouver," said Courtney Rose, manager of the Boat House restaurant. "I've grown up thinking we are a peaceful city in western Canada, not the kind of people who destroy property and fight with police in the streets."

Rose said she and other residents avoided downtown parts of the city after smelling tear gas in areas surrounding the arena.

Public transportation was also restricted during the riot, she said, which temporarily prevented residents from entering parts of the city.

The melee began after the Bruins won their first NHL championship in 39 years, trouncing the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 Wednesday night.

"It's absolutely disgraceful and shameful," Mayor Gregor Robertson told CNN affiliate CTV. "It by no means represents the city of Vancouver."

He called the rioters "despicable" after hundreds of mostly young people took to the streets and set overturned vehicles ablaze.

Some disappointed fans and rioters stopped and posed in front of the flames. Others danced atop an overturned vehicle as a cloud of gray smoke hung over downtown.

Aerial footage showed city police wading into the unruly crowd that taunted and threw debris at the officers a few blocks from arena.

After dropping the first two games in Vancouver, the Bruins took four of the last five games from the Canucks, who struggled to stay in Game Seven after going down 1-0 in the first period.

 
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