The city of Vancouver is, essentially, shutting down on Wednesday evening in anticipation of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals as the Canucks take-on the Boston Bruins for the NHL championship. Downtown has been a gathering place for Canucks fans, with outdoor viewings organized and crowds numbering in the six-figures to watch and cheer-on their team. And the inevitable crush of people has Vancouver police and businesses preparing, and bracing for impact.
According to CBC, Vancouver liquor stores are closing early again on Wednesday in an effort to limit consumption and cut-down on some of the alcohol-related incidents. Even still, lines were out the door and down the block earlier in the day as fans turned the game into somewhat of a holiday. Police are already wandering the streets, as well, setting what they hope with be the foundation for a safe, riot-free night.
But in this situation, it might be a damned if you do, damned if you don't moment. Fans interviewed on the CBC broadcast admitted it might get ugly if the Canucks lose, and that rioting is a possibility. And in a win, rioting is also a possibility, though it would have a more celebratory tone.
The concern is warranted, especially for those who remember the last time the Canucks were in this position -- in a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. In 1994, Vancouver suffered through a massive riot after the Canucks loss to the New York Rangers in Game 7, and a crowd approaching 100,000 took out their anger on the streets. Property damage was done, stores were looted and police were out-manned, and those crowds were less than the crowds in the streets to watch the Canucks this year.
Win or lose, the Vancouver streets could get interesting tonight, and it's a situation that warrants watching. The Canucks and Bruins face-off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday night, live on NBC and CBC.
Stay with this StoryStream for the latest on the game up to, and throughout, Wednesday's matchup. For more on the Canucks, head over to Nucks Misconduct. For a deep look at the Bruins, check out the aptly named Stanley Cup of Chowder.