Vancouver Mayor cautious about organizing Canucks viewing parties

Vancouver Mayor cautious about organizing Canucks viewing parties

Vancouver’s mayor says he’d like to host viewing parties for the Canucks’ playoff run, but the city must proceed with caution after two previous playoff runs ended in riots.

Other Canadian cities, such as Edmonton and Toronto, have hosted outdoor games during the NHL playoffs, but Vancouver has yet to host any.

“Can we get something done? Absolutely,” Mayor Ken Sim said Thursday.

“Are we going to do our job? Absolutely… We’re not just going to say, ‘Hey, let’s have a party. This time it’s going to be different.'”

In 2011, the City of Vancouver created public spaces where fans could watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Canucks and Boston Bruins.

After the Bruins defeated the Canucks 4-0 in the deciding game, some 1,000 rioted in downtown Vancouver, causing $3.78 million in damage in about five hours, according to a BC Prosecution Service report.

Canucks fans were also in an uproar when the team lost Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers.

Sim has said in the past that he wants to make Vancouver fun again. The city has a reputation as “No Fun City.” On Thursday, he said time is needed to learn the lessons of a nearly 400-page independent investigation into the 2011 riots.

“I think the city realizes that I personally love a good party as well, and as the mayor of Vancouver we have to be incredibly responsible and thoughtful … We have a history going back to 1994 and 2011 and we’ve gone through the reports and what we have to do is make sure we have a very safe event,” Sim said.

The organization that represents downtown Vancouver businesses says no watch parties are planned, but some of its 8,000 members want something to happen, as long as it can be done safely.

“When people come to the city centre to celebrate, it has a huge economic impact on our businesses,” said Joshua Davidson of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

The Canucks will take on the Nashville Predators on Friday at Bridgestone Arena in Game 3 of their opening-round playoff series. The Predators evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1 with a 4-1 victory at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.

Fans are invited to watch Game 3 at an away party at Rogers Arena. Tickets are $15, with proceeds going to the Canucks for Kids Fund.

The City of Delta hosts free viewing parties for each Canucks playoff game at Social Heart Plaza. Viewing parties also take place at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre.