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

Bill passes to make Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday

Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad and CRD Area F director Joan Sorley were in Ottawa for the vote

Wally Webber elected to fourth term as Nuxalk Chief Councilor

Webber took the win with 174 votes out of a total of 389

Bella Coola expected to be hottest spot in B.C. today

Temperatures are predicted to rise to 18 C

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mt. Timothy sale complete

New owners looking toward year-round mountain resort facility

Stolen Bentley spotted going wrong way down highway found in Summerland

The car has been recorded going the wrong way on the Coquihalla, found two days later

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Most Read