VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: People run out of a Hudson Bay Co store with merchandise on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
This should have been a post about the Canucks utterly disappearing when their star players were needed most. It should have been a post about how after waxing lyrical about playing all season for a Game 7 at home, they were nowhere to be found. But sadly, and once again, the Canucks players' ineptitude and classlessness was far overshadowed by their fans'. The story is a sad one told many times.
It was bad enough when some cretins hurled garbage at Gary Bettman. The Comissioner doesn't have many fans north of the border (or farther south of it, for that matter), but no one before had taken it this far. Throwing stuff on the ice is part and parcel for Canucks fans. Hawks fans have seen it the previous two seasons. It's about at petulant and childish as you can get.
Or so I thought.
The pictures from the scenes in the streets of Vancouver after last night's game are pathetic, disgraceful, disgusting, whatever word you want. And while there are various reports that a lot of the nonsense was stirred up by anarchists cloaked in Canucks gear, there certainly were enough actual fans joining in on the stupidity to make it as widespread as it was. As our friend and sometimes Committed Indian columnist Rick Geerling posted on Second City Hockey's Twitter feed: "Enough people to overpower riot police and barriers is not just a 'small group of idiots'".
They've done this before, after losing Game 7 in 1994. Montreal fans have done it too. Must be something about being the farthest, large Canadian city either east or west. I remember I kicked over a garbage can on my way out of the United Center in 1996 when the Avalanche knocked us out of the playoffs in double-OT. It was Jeremy Roenick's last game as a Hawk, and I knew my hero was leaving. Thing was, I was 15.
I get angry about losses. I've briefly considered drifting an opposing fan who's taunting me. For about a half-second. And then even the slightest bit of maturity kicks in, and I move on.
If you know nothing about hockey, you now know why Canucks fans have become perhaps the most reviled in the sport. At least Flyers fans don't destroy anything. And they don't care that no one likes them. They love it. But Canucks fans have spent the playoffs raiding our blogs and message boards, demanding that their team and fanbase be worshipped for their greatness. That was bad enough, and hilarious when it fell to pieces last night.
But after last night's spectacle, it's just sad. Hockey fans from all reaches share a bond, I think. Even Wings and Hawks fans deep down, because hockey is still kind of a cult thing. But last night, Vancouver fans exited our club, our bond, our cult. They don't represent us in any way. I hope they use this as a time of learning. But I'm not counting on it.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .