Hockey ended for the Canucks in 2011 with rioting, world-class ignominy for participating fans, and a legacy of heightened surveillance throughout Vancouver. Braced as the city has been for repeat hooliganism this year, the Canucks themselves solved the problem Sunday night by fizzling out in the first playoffs round.
I wouldn’t care so much if it weren’t for the beer flow inspired by NHL playoffs. You don’t have to follow hockey to know when the Canucks are getting successfully through April. The weather’s picking up; windows and doors are open; and you can hear cheers erupting through the neighborhood with each goal. Wander into a nearby yard and you can probably score a beer. (At least that’s what I tell my antisocial parents.) Sure, it’ll be a Canadian or a Labatt Blue, but chances are it’ll come out of an ice chest, half-frozen to that forgiving temperature necessary to really enjoy a macro brew from the Great White North.
Hitting the end of the road this early after reaching the finals last year is a real bummer. We’ll have to find other excuses to break out the beer, but at least there are a few bright spots:
- Cars won’t be decked out with Canucks flags, which means the kids won’t demand why our car doesn’t sport unaerodynamic little rags whipping along in the wind until the Canucks lose.
- Logging into Facebook I won’t see dozens of dorky status updates from fair-weather fans who become rabid every April, embarrassing themselves in their desperation to embrace hockey. They know the players’ middle names, for crying out loud. Last week they didn’t know what “offside” meant.
- The kids won’t badger constantly for Canucks jerseys (and if they do, they’ll probably be on clearance).
- There wasn’t a riot.
There won’t be calls for any additional Big Brother surveillance in Vancouver. Last year’s riot spawned a precedent-setting departure from traditional police investigations into crowd-sourcing—with Facebook and other social media being used as tools to identify rioters. This is the sort of surveillance-society development that isn’t reversed out of easily. Not only should it scare the crap out anyone who might have set a car on fire last year; it should worry anyone with a social media presence. There’s no question last year’s rioters were douchebags, and while they should be prosecuted, it’s alarming to think of investigators poring over people’s FB status updates looking for clues to their general whereabouts. Why? For starters, because so much of what people (bears included) say and post on FB is tongue-in-cheek or even just bullshit. Straining it for meaningful evidence seems like a colossal waste of time at the expense of people’s privacy.
So it’s great that there wasn’t a riot. But I still feel sad about all that hockey beer that will go unpoured.