Raptors to host training camp in Halifax
Published Thursday, July 26, 2012 11:12AM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, July 26, 2012 6:28PM ADT
The Toronto Raptors are coming to Halifax.
The NBA team will hold a training camp in the city October 1-6.
A group headed by Andre Levingston, owner and CEO of the Halifax Rainmen, had been trying for four years to get the Raptors to come to Halifax, but fell short due to lack of facilities.
“What we said at the time, if we could improve facilities, create something different, we would come back and consider it,” says Raptors President and General Manager Bryan.
Whenthe new Canada Games Centre opened 16 months ago,the city finally had a facility that met the practice standards of the NBA squad.
“This is actually the type of facility we were talking about,” says Colangelo.
Levingston is excited about the opportunity.
“I think it would help to brand basketball in our city and in our country,” says Levingston.
He also believes it will help market the Rainmen and the National Basketball League of Canada.
“We definitely want to leverage our product as well and get fans out to watch basketball,” says Livingston.
Colangelo is also thinking about his market.
“We’re not Toronto’s team, we’re Canada’s,” says Colangelo.
The Raptors played three preseason exhibition games in Halifax between1995and 1997, including the very first pre-season game in team history.
Colangelo says it could be awhile before the teamplaysanother exhibition game in Halifax, citing economics as the reason. The Halifax Metro Centre does meet the minimum size requirements, with 10,000 seats, but other cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal have larger venues.
“It’s got to make sense with all the costs involved, including the cost of bringing in the other team,” says Colangelo.
Practices sessions during the training camp will be held at the Canada Games Centre and closed to the public.
The camp will also include an intra-squad game at the Halifax Metro Centre that will be open to the public. All proceeds from the game will go to charity.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Rick Grant
Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan (right) wrestles for the ball with Cleveland Cavaliers' Alonzo Gee during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Friday April 6 , 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young