PC, police have different views on rowdy celebration

Students set fires in the street after the Providence College men's hockey team won the NCAA championship.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Controlled. That was how a Providence College spokesman described a student celebration that broke out on Pembroke Avenue following the school’s first-ever NCAA men’s ice hockey national championship. However, Providence police had a different take on the events.

Following the win, crowds – totaling 4,000 to 5,000 according to police estimates – poured into the streets and quickly got out of control.

According to the police report, “as the police began massive dispersal for safety reasons, numerous students threw bottles, rocks, cans and cups at the officers, the marked police cruisers, and even the fire engine.”

Police said a flying vodka bottle hit an officer in the face, requiring him to get 20 stitches at Rhode Island Hospital.

Students even set a couch on fire, lighting off a huge bonfire with flames 20-feet into the air. When firefighters arrived, students jumped onto the fire engine.

While he said he doesn’t condone the behavior, school spokesman Steve Maurano said the celebration was controlled and there was no significant property damage on campus.

“Students wanted to celebrate to show their excitement and let off a little bit of steam. I thought the whole thing was rather contained,” Maurano said.

As many as 60 officers were summoned, and it took three hours to disperse the crowd.

There was no immediate word of any arrests.

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