Downtown Vancouver, 2011 (Vancouver Province)

The Red Mile: A True Example For Vancouver Rioters

It’s a shame that all Vancouver fans, as well as the city, have to be represented by such hooliganism. A lot of reports are saying there was a “organizational tone” to the rioting, meaning groups of people traveled to the city with intentions to stir up trouble. Police cars were torched, plenty of tear gas was deployed, downtown businesses were smashed and looted as countless people were injured and arrested. The scene looked like footage of a third-wold country revolting against its government. Fires blazed all around and the Vancouver skyline spewed smoke as if the city was just bombed. But really, there was no bombing or corrupt government. There was only massive disappointment over the Canucks’ most recent shortcoming. In reality, nothing changes in the lives of the fans after a loss, so it’s hard to understand why some of them would seek to cause so much long-term damage, not only to the city, but its reputation and pride. That core group of hooligans should be just as ashamed of themselves as real hockey fans around the world are of them.

In 2004 while The Calgary Flames battled the Tampa Bay Lighting for the Stanley Cup, the several block stretch of Calgary’s 17th Ave. was where the tens of thousands of fans would pour into after every game. It became infamously known as the red mile.  The atmosphere was always upbeat and reminiscent of a Canada Day celebration, only it happened every second night. One thing the red mile certainly was not known for was violence. With crowds upwards of 55,000, there was no looting, burning cars or tear gas. Yeah, sure there were isolated incidents fueled by too many Sattledome beers, but nothing that could hold a flame to what happened in downtown Vancouver on the evening of June 16, 2011.

Calgary Flames fans and Calgarians in general should take solace in the fact that their city was able to collectively celebrate its hockey team with such a sense of camaraderie and peacefulness. So one or two pairs of breasts were whipped out here and there. Sure, maybe a few f-bombs were dropped in front of children. And OK, maybe a few fans had to visit the hospital. But for the most part, the ‘sea of red’ kept the good vibes rolling and the police officers had to deploy minimal to no force. I don’t even think anyone thought about climbing street signs. Damn. And hey what do you know, the Flames faced the exact same Game 7, on-the-road situation as Vancouver did. They lost the game to boot. But it was nothing like downtown Vancouver. The Flames faithful more or less just felt lucky to have made it so far and were happy to be along for the ride. Everything else was a bonus.

Calgary's red mile in 2004

It really is inexplicable as to why they went so haywire in Vancouver. They did it in 94 when the Rangers won. Some have suggested that it’s just what Canucks fans do. I choose not to believe such insanity can be hardwired into the DNA of a fan. This is just what some human beings do. We’re a ridiculous species and some of us do ridiculous things. That is the best explanation there is out there at the moment. It’s all still hard to process

Click here for real-time coverage of the Vancouver riots, including photos and video, courtesy of The Vancouver Province. It really is powerful stuff.


Thank you for reading. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @RealRyanPatrick or visit the NHL FanSided main site, Too Many Men On The Site for breaking news.





  • Ryan Patrick
  • miffed

    there’s nothing to destroy in calgary i’m guessing? cows would get tipped over and wagons set on fire? but don’t be surprised shd this pack of travelling wrecking crew decide to show up in your town during some big events and wreck havoc for the sake of starting a riot disguised as Calgary would then understand how we Vancouver fans feel.

  • miffed

    these thugs were all prepared to start a riot. they brought molotov cocktails with them, masks, home made explosives, steel bars. you can mostly tell them apart in those footage on tv. they mostly carry backpacks and have their faces covered. I don’t think they’re even from Vancouver. Anyways I’m just trying to hopefully change your perspective on upsets me when to hear it said it’s Vancouver fans gone chaotic when it’s actually only a handful of them being drunk idiots joining the riot thugs thinking it’d be fun.

  • Ryan Patrick

    I completely agree that this is not a representation of all Vancouver fans. I addressed that in the piece. I did see enough video to see that there were MANY fans who contributed to the rioting and looting. I was by no means saying this is the fault of Vancouver fans collectively. Who am I to say what’s whose fault. I can only go by what I, and the rest of the world sees and reads. Thank you for taking the time to read.