Extra police including paid-duty officers and members of the mounted unit will be on hand in Toronto’s downtown core for Monday night’s make-or-break hockey match between the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“You can expect to see a number of officers in uniform in and around Maple Leafs Square,” Constable Wendy Drummond said.
“We’re there for everybody’s protection and we’re looking forward to a great game.”
She would not elaborate on how many officers will be deployed, except to say they will be sufficient and “highly visible.”
The cost of the $65-per-hour paid-duty officers for Monday’s event will be picked up by Maple Leafs Sports Entertainment Ltd., which owns the Maple Leafs and the Air Canada Centre.
The first-round series in the National Hockey League playoffs is tied 3-3 after the Leafs edged out the Bruins 2-1 Sunday night.
After Monday’s game in Boston, the winning team will move on to the Eastern Conference semifinal.
In Toronto the Leafs Nation will begin gathering at Maple Leaf Square at the ACC at 5 p.m., but there is no particular expectation of trouble and the extra police power is just a precaution, Constable Drummond said.
“This far, the crowds have been very large, very happy and very orderly.”
That’s not always true of hockey fans at highly charged games.
When the Vancouver Canucks lost game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final to the Bruins, rioting erupted and by the time it was over, more than $4-million in damage had been done and almost 200 people were under arrest, 56 of them subsequently convicted of various offences.
That’s not the Leafs fans’ style, hockey commentator Don Cherry remarked Sunday night, as thousands of peaceful Leafs gathered outside Toronto’s Air Canada Centre Sunday night to watch their team’s nail-biting triumph over the Bruins.
“There’s 20,000 people outside this building there,” he said. “They don’t wreck things, they’re good Canadian hockey fans and they don’t wreck things. They love hockey and that’s the way it should be.”
The worst post-game upheaval took place in 1993, in Montreal.
After the hometown Canadiens bested the Los Angeles Kings and scooped up the Stanley Cup, thousands of fans descended on St. Catherine Street, setting fires, overturning cars, breaking windows and looting stores. Fifteen 15 city buses and 47 police cars were also destroyed, 115 were arrested and damage was pegged at more than $10-million.
The next year it was Vancouver’s turn.
In June, 1994 following the Canucks’ loss to the New York Rangers in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final, between 50,000 and 75,000 people jammed the streets of downtown Vancouver.
Things turned ugly when drunken brawls broke out in the downtown, leaving behind more than $1-million worth of damage.