2011 Stanley Cup Finals: What Do the Riots Really Mean?

Mary Ann ReitanoContributor IIIJune 16, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15:  A person with a Candanian flag walks in front of a burning vehicle 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images


After Boston's Stanley Cup victory over the Vancouver Canucks, I watched Tim Thomas receive the Conn Smythe—no big surprise there—and then cringed as Zdeno Chara accepted Lord Stanley's Cup from Commissioner Gary Bettman. (Yes, I am still just a little bitter over Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty).

It was well past 11pm here so I went to sleep - only to wake up to the almost never-ending stream of stories, video and stills of the rioting that took place in Vancouver in reaction to the Canucks' loss.  I could go on about what on-lookers have said, critiques of how the police may have mishandled the shutdown of the downtown area and the heartbreak that many Vancouver residents are feeling this morning, saying that this is really not them.

I was raised with many cultural references as the daughter of an Italian immigrant, which might explain why my defensive sentiments toward Roberto Luongo are so strong. One of those cultural mantras was from my grandfather, who would always say, "Never forget your last name."  His point was, having survived the Invasion of Sicily during WW II, you can have everything taken away from you except your last name; he felt your name is something to be respected, protected and coveted. 

As I watched the footage of the throngs of fans committing random acts of violence, not only did I feel heartbroken for the good people of the City of Vancouver who, after showcasing their city to the world during the 2010 Olympics, were seen as a shining light to the world; what about the players?

How did Roberto Luongo feel seeing someone wearing his name and number on their back lighting a car on fire?

How does Ryan Kesler feel knowing that someone wearing his name and number threw a newspaper machine through a store front to loot?

Their names will be forever recorded in history with this group of hooligans who, as some have admitted, couldn't have cared less about who won a hockey game, they just wanted an excuse to exercise their hedonistic nature under the guise of anonymity as part of a mob mentality.

Well, apparently our world's need to always being ready to reach out and touch someone is going to be these folks' fall from grace...Cell phone pics and videos are being turned over to authorities faster than they can keep track of them, and this story will develop over the weekend and surely into next week.

Vancouver courtrooms will be a never-ending flow of riot cases—a little redemption for the players who saw their names used in a way they never imagined. So, who really wins?  The same people who always win...the attorneys.