Raptors coming to Quebec City for Training Camp
The Toronto Raptors NBA championship win brought Canadian basketball fever to a new level this year, and Quebec City Raptors fans will have a chance to get up close and personal with the team this fall.
The Raptors players will be heading to Laval University for their training camp causing a buzz throughout the city.
It's the first time the team will host its annual training camp in the province, which was in the works before the Raptors' historic playoff run.
"They came here to visit in March and they were very pleased with what they saw, the facilities - the court itself but also all the rooms around that are good for them, like the physiotherapy room," said Laval University communications and marketing director Daniel Veilleux. "The access also for the players, because they want some discretion when they're here, so everything was perfect for them."
The Raptors will train behind closed doors at the university from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, but on Oct. 3 their practice will be open to the public.
"There's an intra-team game, so it's only the Raptors - it's not an exhibition game with another team - and the public will have access," said Veilleux.
The Laval University Rouge et Or's men's team coach Nathan Grant said he's excited for the visit. Grant was hired in the spring and said basketball is more popular in the provincial capital than many may think.
"Just over the last month or so I've been trying to find a new house, a new home here in Quebec,and, as we're going through the streets, driving around to go and visit homes, there was a basketball net up at almost every single house that we drove by," he said. "People are really starting to get into the whole basketball fever in Quebec City."
Seeing the Raptors' pros play at the university will also be the perfect motivation for his Rouge et Or ballers.
"To see what it's like, a day in the life of an NBA team and franchise, an NBA champion, for me it's huge because I have guys, young adults who are aspiring professionals and they want to know what it's like - so for them to see it face to face, up close and personal, for these guys it's a huge advantage to see these guys and understand what it actually takes to get to the next level," said Grant.
The coach is still amazed at what he saw from the Raptors during this year's playoffs.
"Even as they were playing in the championships, we were like, 'OK, this could actually happen,' and then 'OK, it's happening,' and then 'It's done, it's happened,'" said Grant. "We're still in shock right now. It's amazing, exciting for Canada for Quebec especially. It's just great for basketball overall."