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Originally published June 16, 2011 at 11:03 AM | Page modified June 16, 2011 at 11:00 PM

Vancouver tries to clean up after rioters rampage

Volunteers flocked to downtown Vancouver to clean up the mess left by the riot after Wednesday night's Stanley Cup Final loss.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The results of Wednesday night's riot were evident at the corner of Granville and Georgia streets, where plywood barricades covered the smashed-out windows of The Bay store.

Thursday morning, a hand-painted sign posted on those boards showed evidence of remorse.

"On behalf of my city and my team, I'm sorry."

On the plywood around the sign, people were writing personal messages of disgust at what had happened.

"This is Vancouver. That was a riot. There is a difference."

And the city's resolve was more than words the day after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Boston Bruins. Volunteers flocked to downtown, some drawn by a Facebook event titled "Let's Clean Up Vancouver."

"I woke up this morning around 7:30," said Eric Seeley of New Westminster. "I remembered what I saw last night. I thought it was pretty brutal."

The damage was indeed fierce:

• About 150 people required hospital treatment. Three people were stabbed, and one man suffered critical head injuries in a fall.

• Nine police officers were injured, including one who required 14 stitches after being hit with a thrown brick. Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said some officers suffered bite marks.

• Fifteen cars were burned, including two police cars, according to Chu.

• About 50 businesses were damaged; London Drugs, across the street from The Bay, was hit especially hard by looters. Wynn Powell, the president and CEO of London Drugs, estimated the damage to his store at $1 million.

Powell, sounding angry, said the looting wasn't the random consequence of a mob mentality.

"The rioters attacked us for two hours before they got into the store. They were down attacking the stores of Vancouver to try to steal product."

TV footage showed a man being beaten after he tried to stop looters from smashing windows at The Bay department store. The disturbing clip was posted and replayed online for the world to see.

Thursday morning, healing had begun.

"I saw on the news that a couple of people were coming down," Seeley said, "so I decided to come down myself."

He pointed back to last year's Winter Olympics to describe his disappointment in what happened in Vancouver's downtown streets after the Canucks loss.

"Everyone was so full of energy and everyone was so happy," he said of the Olympics. "Everyone was together, there was so much community. This kind of sucks it all out."

Seeley arrived downtown at 9 a.m. with gloves, and by 9:30 he was sweeping up fragments of broken glass outside a store.

"You have a dust pan over there?" he asked another volunteer. "I have a lot of dust over here."

Matthew Lacasse is 20, a second-year student at McGill University who lives in North Vancouver. He saw the Facebook posting and hitched a ride downtown with his mom, who was going to work.

"Watching this made me even more upset than after the game," Lacasse said. "The fact that Vancouver, that they would do this to their city."

Lacasse was wearing a Canucks T-shirt. So was Mina Kim, a student at University of British Columbia.

"I'm wearing my Canucks shirt today because (rioting) is not what the Canucks are about," Kim said. "We're not sore losers. We can take it. Boston deserved to win and we're happy for them. There's no need for us to go out and ruin our city."

The cleanup won't change what happened Wednesday night. The cars still burned, stores were damaged and two nations watched a world-class city riot in defeat.

But what happened Thursday morning speaks about Vancouver, too. That hundreds of people — many of them young — gathered downtown with brooms and gloves to counteract what was done Wednesday night.

"I was heartbroken," Kim said. "I was embarrassed. I was disgusted. Those weren't even real hockey fans."

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com. Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.




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