1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot

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1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot
Date June 14, 1994 (1994-06-14)
Location Downtown Vancouver
Also known as Vancouver riots
Deaths 0
Non-fatal injuries 200 (1 critically)[1]
Property damage $1.1 million [1]
($1.65 million in 2016 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 tour opener for The Rolling Stones led to confrontations between the police and 2,000 fans 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, CBC'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 June 16, 2011 10:59 AM ET (1994-06-14). "A tale of two riots Comparing the 1994 and 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver CBC June 16, 2011". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  2. ^ Canadian inflation numbers based on Statistics Canada. "Consumer Price Index, historical summary". CANSIM, table (for fee) 326-0021 and Catalogue nos. 62-001-X, 62-010-X and 62-557-X. And Consumer Price Index, by province (monthly) (Canada) Last modified 2017-07-21. Retrieved July 28, 2017
  3. ^ Arthur, Bruce (2011-06-15). "Remembering the 1994 Stanley Cup riot". The National Post. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  4. ^ Reuters (1994-06-15). "There Is No Joy In Vancouver". New York Times. 
  5. ^ A Tale of Two Riots
  6. ^ Associated Press (1994-06-16). "200 Injured In Vancouver". New York Times. 
  7. ^ "B.C. judge dismisses Stanley Cup riot lawsuit". CBC News. 2001-12-17. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  8. ^ "Berntt v. City of Vancouver, 2001 BCSC 1754, 2001". Supreme Court of British Columbia. 2001-12-14. 
  9. ^ a b c Strachan, Alex (June 16, 1994). "Big Apple celebrations orderly, if a bit messy". Vancouver Sun. p. A6.