The Stanley Cup Playoffs began last week amid all the hope and desperation that penetrates the lives of Canuck fans at playoff time.
The post-season emotional ride is full of 40-year franchise frustration and pain for bandwagon fans and die-hard fanatics alike. This year the ache will include the memories of a Game 7 meltdown and a city on fire.
And while most Vancouverites hope we hoist Lord Stanley's Grail this spring, many also pray for peace as the memories of last year's Canuck Riots still linger in everyone's minds.
If you're a parishioner at Holy Rosary Cathedral, the violence of those riots hit close to home as Rosary Hall suffered riot damage and parishioners suffered some bruised faith in their civic brethren.
Unfortunately the plans of Mayor Gregor Robertson and the City of Vancouver to shut out fans from the big screen gatherings that fuelled the city's playoff fever last year is resulting in a different sort of disappointment.
No one wants a repeat of last year's violence, but is the mayor's cancellation of large downtown events really the answer?
Last year's run brought the city together in ways the Olympics couldn't; it was our team, our chance, our city - one city pulling for one team in one sport. Jersey-clad fans embraced on the streets and civic goodwill reigned.
With the exception of Game 7, the big screen events of last year were mostly benign family affairs where happy, hungry fans flew their colours with Canuck pride.
This year, large numbers of fans will still flood into the downtown area to watch hockey in pubs and restaurants.
We need to solve the Game 7 riot problem without holding hockey families hostage because of some professional and amateur thuggery.
The police made mistakes last year, but instead of learning from them as part of their 2012 anti-riot strategy, Vancouver has decided to make the collective populace suffer.
The answer should be simple. Police need to be deployed in greater numbers, with the authority to move in and make arrests when trouble starts.
It's easier to simply ban large public events than it is for authorities to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work that would be necessary to allow large downtown events. Maybe it's reflective of our greater society that simplistic and effortless solutions triumph over those that are more demanding but also more rewarding.
As the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their series against the Philadelphia Flyers last week, thousands of Pittsburghers jammed into their downtown core to watch Game 1 on a giant screen. Pittsburghers basked in Penguin pride and civic brotherhood.
The same thing will happen in many NHL cities this spring. It's a shame Vancouverites won't be able to do the same.
Thugs and vandals shouldn't hold Vancouverites hostage, nor should an entire city suffer because authorities couldn't keep a lid on public order.
Vancouverites will be deprived of what was a fabulous experience last year, when all that is needed is a greater police presence, quicker police action, and enforcement of law.