Canucks viewing party: No event in Vancouver for Wednesday’s game

Vancouver won’t be hosting a public viewing party for Wednesday night’s game, the mayor announced at an early morning news conference.

Ken Sim held the media availability less than 12 hours before puck drop, adding that while there are no event plans for the first two games of the series, the city intends to host a viewing party at Oak Meadows Park on Sunday. That park, which has space for about 2,000 people, was picked because of its size and central location, the mayor said.

In the coming weeks, community centres and libraries may also be used for public viewing parties. Sim said the city will also help independent organizations, like theatres, get feeds to the games so they can host their own events.

If the Canucks make it to Round 3, Sim said, the city plans to open space at the PNE for a larger viewing party, with space for about 6,000 people.

So far, Vancouver officials have been cautious about hosting public viewing parties, citing the need for measures to manage crowds.

The Vancouver Police Department has also been apprehensive about large-scale events, saying it wants plans in place to ensure people aren’t walking around with open liquor.

“We know from previous experience, not just here in Vancouver but in other major cities, especially with large sporting events, a lot of the problems that happen in terms of violence, fights and disorder occurs when people are over-consuming liquor,” Sgt. Steve Addison said last month.

Sim didn’t say whether there would be screening at the upcoming events, saying that’s for the VPD to determine.

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“It really depends on the (venue),” he said. “There could be a community centre where it’s not really a big deal, whereas something in the downtown core, PNE obviously, there’s going to be a lot more safety measures put in place.”

While the cost of damage from the 2011 riot amounted to an estimated $3.78 million, Sim said the price of opening the venues for this year’s games “is minimal in the grand scheme of things.”

“It’s a time to celebrate and it’s also a time to show off the fact that Vancouver fans can celebrate in a family friendly, fun and safe way,” he said. “I think that will pay dividends going forward for our city and bringing swagger back to our city.”

Round 2 starts on Wednesday for the Canucks as they take on the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena at 7 p.m. PDT.  

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