Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry speaks with media after the team’s first training camp session at University of Victoria on Sept. 26. (Black Press/Ragnar Haagen)

Toronto Raptors open training camp at University of Victoria

The team will play an intra-squad game open to the public on Thursday, but tickets have already sold out.

Training camp began today for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, but players weren’t practicing on their home court at the Air Canada Centre, instead they worked through drills at the University of Victoria.

The team is holding a four-day training camp in Victoria before jetting off to Hawaii for two preseason games against the LA Clippers early next month.

“I love coming out here,” said Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. “We really represent the country of Canada and we understand that we have a lot of places to touch, a lot of people to touch, and I think it’s great for the organization to come out here and touch fans and touch people and give them the chance to see us up close and personal.”

READ MORE: NBA coming to Victoria in September

This was the fourth consecutive year the team has held its training camp in the province.

Coach Dwane Casey said it’s been a good first day for his players, with some very competitive practices taking place on Tuesday.

“It’s an honour to visit a different part of Canada and prepare for our season in the first-class facilities at the University of Victoria,” said Casey last month, when the training camp schedule was first announced. “We are extremely proud being Canada’s only NBA franchise. Our players and staff feel enthusiasm for basketball in every city we have visited. We don’t ever want to take that for granted.”

Canadian National Team player and Raptors forward Kyle Wiltjer is hoping to crack the squad this season. The son of former UVic Vikes standout Greg Wiltjer was born in Oregon but enjoys dual citizenship and helped the national team to a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games. This followed an illustrious college career that began with a National Championship at Kentucky in 2012 before transferring to finish his college career at basketball powerhouse Gonzaga.

“There’s just a buzz around Canada right now — a lot of young players coming out. And when you have a lot of young talent, it creates opportunities,” said Wiltjer, who noted his only focus right now is on the Raptors.

READ MORE: Tickets to Raptors game sell out in minutes

Twenty players have been invited to camp, but only a maximum of 15 players can be part of an NBA roster (13 of which can be active each game).

The team’s intra-squad game goes Thursday night at UVic’s Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA). The facility will seat 2,300 for the game. Tickets sold out in less than 20 minutes leaving many basketball fans scouring the secondary ticket market. UVic has since announced that standing room only tickets will be available for fans beginning at 5:30 p.m. ahead of the game’s 7 p.m. start.

Proceeds from the game will support the local Golf for Kids Charity Classic, which directly supports a number of charities including the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Disqualified Saanich soccer team disputes ruling

Saanich Fusion U15 girls alleged to have ineligible players

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

Peninsula speed skater has eyes on the podium at BC Winter Games

Tori Kalyniuk will have her Skittles ready before each race

WATCH: Oak Bay hosts inaugural Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

Local cops drag multi-media journalists out for a swim ahead of March 11 event

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies say they will invest more than $1 billion in Canada in the coming years

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

B.C. man goes to jail for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan has also been banned from owning animals for the next ten years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Porch lights turn on for Canadian teen behind #BeccaToldMeTo movement

New Brunswick’s Rebecca Schofield had asked her Facebook followers to perform random acts of kindness

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Most Read