The church Milan Lucic’s family attends in Vancouver was vandalized (photo came via his girlfriend’s twitter account).
8 months and one day ago, the Canucks were defeated in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final at the hands of Milan Lucic and the Boston Bruins. Yet it was only today, nearly 250 days later, that the first "Stanley Cup" rioter Ryan DIckinson, was sentenced to 17 months in jail. Today should’ve marked a step towards closure, a milestone along the path to putting that ugly moment in the history of the city and in the history of the Canucks and their fans in the rearview mirror. Instead, there’s a new stain on the reputation of the city and the fan-base.
According to Milan Lucic’s girlfriend Brittany Carnegie, who tweeted the photo you see above: Milan Lucic’s family church, Saint Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Burnaby, was desecrated by graffiti which, targeted the Bruins power-forward. The tag on the wall of the church misspells "Canucks" – leaving out the second C, and includes the words "Fuck Lucic," as well as a crudely drawn penis (complete with misshapen testicles).
Clearly this isn’t the work of the "Canucks fanbase" as a whole, it’s the work of a couple of twisted miscreants – but it would be dishonest to write this off as an "isolated incident". Beyond the riots, Milan Lucic and his family were subject to some harassment over the summer.
There were posters with his name on them that were reportedly defaced, and words exchanged at a Serbian festival. There was sufficient tension towards Milan that the hulking winger and the family decided to modify their plans and make his "day with the cup" significantly more private. Milan, however, brought Lord Stanley’s mug to the church that was vandalized in the picture above (footage of the church begins at at 0:32 of the video embedded below):
As I wrote over the summer about the harassment of Lucic:
The first step towards fixing a cultural problem, is to admit you’ve got a problem – and like it or not Canucks fans, we’ve got one. Sadly, it manifests itself in malignant ways that embarrass the entire city.
I can’t diagnose the cultural problem with any certainty. I’m a Vancouver native, and still consider the city "home" though I haven’t lived there for nearly seven years. Perhaps it has something to do with the exorbitant cost of living in the city, or a general sense of disillusionment that such costs engender. It could have something to do with the particular, aggressive, and paranoid mentality that, to some extent, characterizes the Canucks fan-base. Or maybe it’s the wildness of the city’s "dream-scape" setting, which, as Bruce Arthur once theorized may "unmoor certain minds from reality, a little or a lot.”
What we do know is that over the past 8 months there have been several incidents, incidents of violence, vandalism and harassment, that taken together constitute a pattern. It’s especially sad because most Vancouver based hockey fans are proud of Milan’s accomplishments (despite the colours on his current jersey).
The feverish hysteria that surrounds Vancouver’s NHL club mostly fuels the sale of tickets, game-day beer and merchandise (also, traffic to this website). But this same fanatical passion occasionally reveals its unique, dark and perspective-free underbelly. It’s a hateful under-current that is chilling and destructive and anti-social in the extreme, and the fact that it has shown its face more frequently of late is disturbing.
Milan doesn’t live in Vancouver permanently anymore, but he grew up a Canucks fans and I’m sure he still considers the city home. It’s truly pathetic that some folks apparently can’t get over an eight month old sporting loss. The fact that they’ve decided to take their frustration out on Milan Lucic, his church and his family is beyond despicable.
Update (10:57 am PST): Via the National Post’s David Ebner, school children participating in scrubbing the graffiti off of Saint Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church.