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

Rebels season over after loss in Cullen Cup Final

Westshore had won ten straight games prior to championship game

Island athletes compete at Dragon Boat Championship in China

Eight paddlers part of team Canada at five-day event wrapping up Oct. 23

UPDATE: Crash knocks out power to parts of Saanich

Power outage results in stores at Uptown being closed Saturday morning

Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

John Heintzelman, 65, is accused of assaulting a person at his former business, James Bay Massage

SOOKE HISTORY: Port Renfrew pioneer schooling

On a hillside above the wharf, the first Port Renfrew School was… Continue reading

Sooke fudge company on Dragon’s Den Nov. 2

Fudge in A Round appearance on Dragon’s Den celebrated with a viewing party at the local Legion Nov. 2

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Pumpkins’ versatility goes beyond Halloween

Linda Geggie For the Saanich News Get this. My 13-year-old just came… Continue reading

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Event puts pets in the picture for Halloween

Pets West holding Halloween party Oct. 29 at its Broadmead Village location

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read