Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fans still welcome downtown, Vancouver's police chief says

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VANCOUVER -- Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu issued a statement Saturday clarifying that people are still welcome downtown during the NHL playoffs as long as they behave themselves.

Chu's statement appeared to be a turnabout from comments he made earlier this week at a Vancouver police board meeting, where he said the philosophy for the playoffs this year is "don't come downtown."

The city is set to release a new Stanley Cup playoffs strategy Tuesday, meant to help avoid a repeat of the June 15 riot that laid waste to parts of downtown.

The playoffs start April 11.

"At all times and during the hockey playoffs, the Vancouver police are encouraging people to come downtown to enjoy our bars, restaurants, arenas, theatres, shopping and street ambience," Chu said.

"Our focus is to make it safe for you to enjoy our city. You are not welcome in Vancouver if you intend to engage in public drinking, hooliganism and criminal behaviour."

Chu had said at a police board meeting last Wednesday police are against downtown celebrations and want them replaced with regional festivities and parties at community centres.

The new strategy is being announced against the backdrop of four separate investigations into the June 15 riot when the Boston Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup.

 

Habs legend Beliveau healing

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau, who suffered a stroke just under a month ago, has been released from hospital and appears to be on the mend.

Donald Beauchamp, a spokesman for the NHL team, said Beliveau was released from Montreal General Hospital on Friday. He was transferred to a rehabilitation centre.

"His condition is improving, it's good news," Beauchamp said Saturday.

The legendary centre suffered the stroke on the evening of Feb. 27.

Beliveau has had health problems before but has bounced back. He had a mild stroke in January 2010 and was also treated for cardiac problems in 1996. A cancerous tumour was removed from his neck in 2000, and last year he underwent surgery to treat abdominal aneurysms.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2012 B4

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