Rioting ice hockey fans in Vancouver have been involved in violent clashes with police after the local team, the Canucks, lost the final of the NHL Stanley Cup.
Cars and pick-up trucks were overturned and set on fire, shops were looted and broken glass littered the streets while police tried to break up the crowds with tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades after being pelted with bottles and bricks.
Dozens of people were arrested and there were hospital reports of at least two serious trauma cases, three stabbings and one head injury, according to the Vancouver Sun, with around 50 people treated for tear gas inhalation.
The trouble started about an hour after the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup against the Boston Bruins, ending the Canadian team’s chances of becoming NHL champions for the first time. Hundreds of Vancouver police were soon joined by officers from other towns as the violence escalated. Officials say the culprits were mainly young adults and numbered in their hundreds. Many more people recorded the scenes on mobile phones and police are urging citizens to come forward with the pictures so that rioters can be identified and arrested.
It is not the first time Vancouver has witnessed such scenes after a hockey match: in 1994 there was similar rioting after the Canucks failed to win the Stanley Cup.
One senior police officer in the city, which hosted the Winter Olympics last year, said “this small group of people has ruined this experience, not just for Canuck fans, but for all Vancouverites. We showed the world last year that we can literally host the world, but this is embarrassing for the city.”