1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot

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1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot
DateJune 14, 1994 (1994-06-14)
LocationDowntown Vancouver
Also known asVancouver riots
Non-fatal injuries200 (1 critically)[1]
Property damage$1.1 million [1]
($1.71 million in 2018 dollars[2])

Coordinates: 49°17′04″N 123°7′29″W / 49.28444°N 123.12472°W / 49.28444; -123.12472 The 1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot occurred in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on the evening of June 14, 1994, and continued into the following morning. The riot followed Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals in which the Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers. It was Vancouver's first riot since 1972, when the Rolling Stones American Tour 1972 led to confrontations between the police and 2,000 outside the Pacific Coliseum.[3]

The riot[edit]

After the NHL game ended, an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 individuals converged upon Downtown Vancouver. The gathering developed into a riot at Robson and Thurlow Street, after an accident involving a man who fell from a lamp standard into the crowd below. The police, who were on bicycles, attempted to escort paramedics into the crowd. When members of the crowd attempted to take a bicycle from one constable, police retreated and warned the crowd to disperse. Shortly after the riot squad congregated on Thurlow St. on the West side, police fired tear gas into the crowd, causing people to run in all directions. Many major retailers along Robson had their windows broken, including an Eaton's department store which had more than 50 smashed. The storefronts were eventually guarded by a constable as police regained control of the streets.[citation needed]

Tear gas wafted through the open windows of West End residents that night. St. Paul's Hospital responded to the situation by placing guards at the emergency room entrance to prevent tear gas victims from entering, claiming there was nothing that could be done for them. Eventually, as reported in The New York Times, bowls with water were placed outside by the security guards for those suffering from tear gas.[4] Total damage to the downtown core was estimated at $1.1 million Canadian Dollars.[5]

Subduing the crowd required the direct involvement of over 540 officers, of the Vancouver Police Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Numerous individuals were arrested and charged, and up to 200 people were injured.[6]


Ryan Berntt, a rioter who was shot in the head with a plastic bullet by police, causing a four-week coma and permanent brain damage, filed a civil suit against police and the City of Vancouver claiming excessive force. In 1997, he was found 75 percent liable for his own injuries, however, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in 1999. In 2001, Berntt's civil suit was dismissed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.[7][8]

In New York City, although the celebrations marking the Rangers' first championship in 54 years were peaceful and there were no reports of violence or arrests, they were marred by the riots.[9] Rudy Giuliani, who became the city's mayor just five months before, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and Rangers President and General Manager Neil Smith said that the Rangers and people in New York City were in shock over the news of the riots and that the shockwaves of it had traveled to the city and put it on the highest alert.[9] Bratton canceled days off for the New York City Police Department on June 17, 1994, the day of the parade for the Rangers, as a precaution against what happened in Vancouver happening in New York City.[9]

During their broadcast of the post-game celebrations following Game 7, Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean said when the network broadcast scenes outside Madison Square Garden that the NYPD avoided a large-scale riot by "continuing to bolster their situation in anticipation of a wild night in Manhattan."[citation needed]

Seventeen years later, the Canucks played the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. They again lost in Game 7, on June 15, 2011, resulting in a similar riot.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A tale of two riots: Comparing the 1994 and 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver". Cbc.ca. June 16, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  2. ^ Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada tables 18-10-0005-01 (formerly CANSIM 326-0021) "Consumer Price Index, annual average, not seasonally adjusted". Statistics Canada. January 18, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2019. and 18-10-0004-13 "Consumer Price Index by product group, monthly, percentage change, not seasonally adjusted, Canada, provinces, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Arthur, Bruce (June 15, 2011). "Remembering the 1994 Stanley Cup riot". The National Post. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Reuters (June 15, 1994). "There Is No Joy In Vancouver". The New York Times.
  5. ^ A Tale of Two Riots
  6. ^ Associated Press (June 16, 1994). "200 Injured In Vancouver". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "B.C. judge dismisses Stanley Cup riot lawsuit". CBC News. December 17, 2001. Retrieved September 21, 2008.
  8. ^ "Berntt v. City of Vancouver, 2001 BCSC 1754, 2001". Supreme Court of British Columbia. December 14, 2001.
  9. ^ a b c Strachan, Alex (June 16, 1994). "Big Apple celebrations orderly, if a bit messy". Vancouver Sun. p. A6.