In contrast to the post-game riots in Vancouver, officials in this city say the fans in Surrey were peaceful.
A crowd of between 6,000 and 7,000 people at Surrey’s Stanley Cup celebration site in Central City plaza was well-behaved, and began to trickle out when the Vancouver Canucks began to lose to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday night.
The usual ad-hoc group which meets at 72 Avenue and Scott Road failed to materialize because of the team’s loss.
In fact, shortly after the game, Surrey RCMP deployed more than 100 of its 158 officers dedicated to crowd control to downtown Vancouver, where things quickly spiralled out of control.
Almost right after the game, people began throwing bottles at the big screen TV put up by Vancouver, then engaged in fighting, lighting garbage cans and cars on fire, turning over vehicles, and looting stores.
Images captured by media and by individuals using cameras and cellphones were quickly broadcast widely.
The hunt is now on to identify the perpetrators of the orgy of destruction.
Metro Vancouverites quickly banded together on social media, vowing to out the offenders, pooling photos and video captured during Wednesday night’s riot.
Many of those responsible made no attempt to hide their faces, sometimes mugging for photos that were widely shared online.
They show young men overturning vehicles, removing merchandise and stuffing a rag into the gas tank of a police car.
The site identifyrioters.com allows users to browse photos and identify rioters and looters by their Facebook name. Photos and names are sent to the Vancouver Police Department once multiple users have made a positive ID.
More than 130 people were treated for tear gas or pepper spray exposure and mostly minor injuries.
Rioters smashed windows and looted stores, including The Bay and London Drugs.
Another Facebook group sprang up to help coordinate clean-up efforts Thursday morning.
The costs of the damage and police work in Vancouver were still being tallied Thursday, after The Leader’s press deadline.
In Surrey, there were no costs being attributed to damage, however, there was a price to ensuring the local events were peaceful.
Surrey racked up close to $500,000 in policing costs during the Canucks playoff series.
The price is much higher than earlier estimates, but police say that’s been the cost of keeping the public safe, particularly with the crushing crowds and traffic that traditionally gathered at 72 Avenue and Scott Road.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger was reviewing the overtime submissions on Wednesday afternoon, just hours before Game 7.
“All the overtime is just coming in,” Grainger said. “Right now we’re looking at $40,000 per game in round four with the resources we’re throwing at it.”
That’s $280,000 for the Boston series alone, and adding in the previous three series, the total is about $500,000.
Mayor Dianne Watts was a little skeptical when she heard of the final costs.
“On the surface of it, it sounds extraordinarily high,” Watts said.
She said Thursday morning that Surrey would not be looking to Vancouver to cover any of the costs of sending Mounties to that city.
“There certainly was a regional response to assist VPD,” Watts said. “I want to certainly mention and acknowledge those police officers that put themselves in harm’s way that were injured.”
One police officer from Surrey suffered a head injury and she is expected to make a full recovery.
“These individuals that incite rioting are criminals undertaking criminal acts and they should be absolutely prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Watts said.
– with files from Jeff Nagel