In Canada few things matter more than hockey, and just to be clear, hockey here is played on ice, not grass (Canadian 101). This year the Vancouver Canucks reached the final of the Stanley cup and as the final matches drew closer Canuck fever gripped the entire city. Almost all shops were jumping on the bandwagon with their window displays and many of them closed early on game days, they were headline news everyday and you could buy Canuck branding for pretty much anything. Each game day the city closed several streets to traffic to erect an enormous screen near the stadium so that fans could watch together. It created an amazing atmosphere and sense of unity similar to that which took hold of the city during the Olympics in 2010, the kind of atmosphere you canâ€™t help being swept up in, hockey fan or not.
Sadly when the Canucks lost in the final game (hockey is the best of 7, so emotions had been fraught for a long time), the actions of some reflected very badly on the city. I, like many others stayed up late that night alternating between watching live footage from helicopters, following tweets and watching the smoke rise from my balcony in shock at the mayhem that was unfolding downtown.
Embarrassed about what had happened the next morning hundreds of volunteers went downtown to help clean up and since then thousands of people have echoed their comments on the wooden boards that are currently all over town replacing the windows that were smashed the night of the final.