Mayor: Vancouver’s Riot Prevention Plan a Complete SuccessPosted: June 13, 2012
VANCOUVER: When Mayor Gregor Robertson revealed Vancouver’s riot prevention plan in late March, it was ridiculed as being tantamount to doing nothing. Robertson took the criticism in stride as what city officials dubbed “Project Janus” took hold. After the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup on Monday, Mayor Robertson announced that Project Janus was in fact, successful.
“Project Janus was the end result of actually years of planning. We had been working on Janus since after the 1994 riots, and as the non-riot years between 1994 and 2010 proved, it was mostly successful. We compiled data, worked out statistics, everything; from hiring Mark Messier to picking up Mats Sundin, from Todd Bertuzzi’s brutal hit on Steve Moore to Felix Potvin and Dan Cloutier’s tenure as goalies, everything had been going according to plan. There were hints, I think, in the mid-thousands that things might be falling apart: we were winning more, making the playoffs with more consistency, that kind of thing. Things really hit a snag, I think, with the signing of Alain Vigneault as head coach, and certainly with the combined double-threat of Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. That’s essentially how the 2011 riots happened: we made it into the finals.”
Robertson elaborated on Project Janus in what journalists described as a sinister tone. The goal of Janus was simple: never make the playoffs, or fail really hard early on, and there won’t be a riot. Studies had shown, according to Robertson, that increased police presence or tighter alcohol regulations would have next to no effect; you couldn’t stop people from drinking and short of declaring martial law, you couldn’t stop them from rioting. That’s how Project Janus was hatched.
Documents released by Robertson are compelling and show that the Vancouver Canucks were fully supporting the plan; on the surface, they asked people to celebrate responsibility. Below that, they purposefully attempted to throw games, with a special emphasis on no defense, not finishing checks, and avoiding scoring at all costs. Robertson was quick to downplay the efforts of the Canucks and instead focused on whom the documents labelled “Overlord”: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
“Jonathan [Quick] really was the lynchpin in the plan. Without him it would have been a complete disaster. We were fortunate, of course: Tim Thomas was supposed to throw the game last year to keep the riot from happening, but he refused to do so at the last minute and, well, here we are,” Robertson added.
The documents detail Overlord’s role in the operation, noting early on that his role was so important that calling him Janus would be justified, but that doing so would just confuse the allusion to the Roman god in the first place. Overlord was just supposed to play really, really well and to not lose. Quick was picked for the operation at the start of the season, but things fell apart rather quickly with the team not doing so hot. Their grabbing the eighth seed was almost pure luck, and winning not just against the best team in the league but going on to win the Cup is proof of both Quick’s commitment to the operation and skill as a goaltender.
Robertson, like a true Canucks fan, was quick to blame the refereeing last year, saying that “if those fucking zebras actually made the right calls,” the Canucks would have won against Boston and the riot would have been averted. Following that disaster, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was quick to say that he rectified last year’s mistakes and that the referees would be sure to screw the Canucks early on in the playoffs rather than during the Stanley Cup finals like usual.