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Vancouver mayor announces public viewing sites for Canucks games

Oak Meadows Park at 37th and Oak won’t be activated until Sunday when the Canucks are in Edmonton.
Mayor Ken Sim, city councillors Sarah Kirby-Yung and Lenny Zhou with Vancouver Canucks’ mascot Fin at Vancouver city hall Wednesday.

Mayor Ken Sim announced Wednesday that Oak Meadows Park will be activated Sunday for the public to watch the third game of the Vancouver Canucks-Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup playoff series.

The park at 37th Avenue and Oak Street will feature a large screen and has enough room to accommodate an estimated 2,000 people, Sim said at a brief press conference Wednesday outside city hall, where he was joined by Canucks’ mascot Fin and councillors Sarah Kirby-Yung and Lenny Zhou.

“We're also going to be opening up different community centres and libraries going forward,” said the mayor, noting those sites will soon be listed on the city’s website. “And we're going to be helping other independent organizations like theatres in the city get feeds to the game so they can watch, as well.”

Asked to clarify if community centres and libraries will be activated Sunday for the third game, Sim said it was “an evolving situation.”

“We just want to make sure that the assets that we have that are opened up are ready and prepared for that,” he said.

The City of Vancouver's communications department was expected to release more details later Wednesday on when additional sites would be activated.

If the Canucks beat the Oilers in the series, Sim said a “family-friendly” site at the PNE will also be activated, where people will be allowed to consume alcohol. The site will be able to accommodate 6,000 fans.

“This just gives us more options to spread it out and have people enjoy responsibly,” said the mayor, noting Vancouver has 200,000 liquor seats downtown and people have so far behaved themselves during game days.

Vancouver has had two alcohol-fueled hockey riots — one in 1994 when the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in the final, and more recently in 2011 when the Canucks lost to the Bruins.

An independent report that reviewed the 2011 riot made it clear that too many people were gathered downtown in one area.

The riot report, authored by John Furlong and Douglas Keefe, estimated 155,000 people were downtown when the riot erupted June 15, 2011.

“Vancouver tried to do a good thing and found itself in an almost impossible situation,” the report said. “There were too many people, not too few police. No plausible number of police could have prevented trouble igniting in the kind of congestion we saw on Vancouver streets that night.”

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi

Meanwhile, Sim said he and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi have agreed to a friendly wager on what could potentially be a seven-game series between the only Canadian teams left in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

“He's agreed to fly the Canucks flag above Edmonton city hall once they lose, and he'll be rocking one of these amazing jerseys,” said Sim, who was wearing a black, yellow and orange Canucks jersey featuring J.T. Miller’s number 9.

The wager also involves the mayors donating to “a good cause.” In Sim’s case, it would be the Yo Bro Yo Girl charity that supports at-risk young people in the region.

The mayor also mentioned the mayors talked about committing to a tattoo.

“I don't think mayor Sohi wanted to live the rest of his life with a Canucks logo on his forearm,” Sim said. “So I think that might have been a good call.”

Sohi posted Wednesday on the X social media platform: "Mayor Sim, I happily accept your challenge. An Oilers jersey is on the way. We have the best team, the best fans and the Oilers are poised to win. So get ready to wear that jersey on the day Canucks lose."

The Canucks play the Oilers in the first game of the series Wednesday night at Rogers Arena. The teams will also face off at Rogers Arena for the second game Friday night, before shifting to Edmonton Sunday.

Home and road games will be shown at Oak Meadows Park, rain or shine.

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