The Toronto Raptors liked it so much in 2017 that they are returning to CARSA Gymnasium on the University of Victoria campus to host their 2022 NBA training camp from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1.
The team announced all training sessions and workouts will be closed to the public. There was an open intra-squad game played in 2017 that sold-out CARSA Gym. But the team has not said if it will hold such a game this time.
The Raptors will break camp in Victoria to play five preseason games, including Oct. 2 against the Utah Jazz at Rogers Place in Edmonton and Oct. 14 against the Boston Celtics at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The Raptors, much like the Toronto Blue Jays, hold an outsized place in the Canadian sports consciousness as the lone Canadian franchises in the NBA and MLB. They play on that national following.
This will be the 11th time the Raptors have held their training camp outside Toronto and the sixth time in B.C. The Raptors trained on the Lower Mainland in 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. While Victoria has a strong basketball tradition, so does Halifax on the East Coast, and the Raptors acknowledged that by going to Nova Scotia for their training camps in 2011 and 2012. The Raptors honoured their a cross-border regional ties by training in Buffalo, New York, in 2000 and 2001.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who guided the Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship, is getting to know the B.C. capital well. He was assistant coach of the club in 2017 when it last held its training camp on the Island.
Nurse coached Canada in the Tokyo Olympic qualifier last summer at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre and will return to guide Canada in its Americas regional 2023 World Cup qualifier against Argentina on Aug. 25 at the Memorial Centre. The 2023 World Cup in Malaysia and Japan is the first qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
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