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200 Injured, 50 Arrested During Vancouver Riots : Hockey: All the trouble caused by fans of losing team; New York victory celebration is peaceful.

June 16, 1994|From Associated Press

VANCOUVER, Canada — Not a single arrest occurred in New York as fans celebrated the Rangers' victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals.

It was a different story in Vancouver, where rioting and looting left an estimated 200 people injured and more than 50 under arrest. Police said at least 21 face criminal charges.

The most seriously injured was a 19-year-old who police earmarked as a ringleader of a group that started the trouble. Police fired a plastic bullet at the man, aiming for his chest. But police said he moved unexpectedly and was struck in the side of the head. He was reported in critical condition on life support.

Dozens of downtown stores had their windows smashed, and there was some looting.

In New York, hundreds of riot police ringed Madison Square Garden during and after the Rangers' 3-2 victory Tuesday night, but their presence wasn't necessary. The celebration was raucous and wild but without violence or vandalism.

City officials said they expect much of the same at Friday's ticker-tape parade.

In Vancouver, as many as 500 officers, many equipped with riot gear and using large doses of tear gas, battled into the early-morning hours against a "hard-core throng" that had spilled onto downtown streets.

There were complaints that innocent people were tear-gassed and left without any avenue of escape.

"The plan was in place," Police Chief Ray Canuel said. "The plan has been drawn up for some time and we reacted according to the plan. You just don't disperse gas for any small reason."

Mayor Philip Owen said he was "absolutely appalled that a small number of people would use this Stanley Cup defeat to carry out such tremendous disruption and damage to people and to property."

Fire departments across the region responded to 150 incidents involving fires, including one apartment fire that left 24 people homeless. Fireworks were blamed for the blaze.

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