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

Okanagan residents can win ride in army vehicle

A social media campaign offers the chance to win a ride in the Dragoons armoured vehicle

Reel Reviews: War from both sides of the desk

We say, “Forgive these films their faults and they will be entertaining enough.”

Residents should keep air intakes clear of snow

Silver Star Fire Department is encouraging residens to keep their air intakes clear after snowfall

Community Leader Awards: The Red Cross

The Kelowna Capital News honours volunteers in the community

Update: Highway 97C reopened following multi-vehicle incident

Highway 97C is closed to eastbound traffic near Pennask Summit following an incident Sunday afternon

PHOTOS: Icing the competition

Skate Canada 2018 Okanagan Regional Championships skated through Vernon this weekend

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.

Street Sounds: Rolling with the Stones

The Stones’ On Air is a blast from the past in every sense

Sledding revved for recovery centre

Adult and Teen Challenge BC’s Sled for Eternity returns to SilverStar Mountain Resort Feb. 24

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

Owls soar to valley basketball title

KSS wins easily at Okanagan finals to represent valley next week at provincials in Langley

Brakemen pulling out all the stops for 2018

Kettle Valley Brakemen planning some surprises

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Most Read