From Coast to Coast, the Toronto Raptors are Feeling the Love
It has become tradition for the Toronto Raptors to play preseason games all across Canada.
Of course, one of the games are played on their home floor in the boisterous confines of the Scotiabank Arena, but then there is a game on the west coast in Vancouver at the Rogers Arena. There is also a game in Montreal at the Bell Centre. No matter where the Raptors go on their Canadian preseason tour, they arrive to same exact reaction – a loud, excited and electric sea of fans eager to see the Raptors play.
Preseason games may not matter, but in Vancouver and Montreal they do, for the Raptors are not just Toronto’s team – they are Canada’s team.
“It’s amazing. That’s what makes us so special. It’s not just Toronto. It’s the whole country,” said third year forward Pascal Siakam.
If you ask any foreigner, they will claim that Canada is a hockey country through and through – and they’re not wrong. Rivalries have been born between cities and between provinces on the skating rink as Maple Leafs and Canadiens fans have grown to never see eye to eye. In the NHL, there is always a battle to be the best team in the entire country. Yet, when the Toronto Raptors come to town, rivalries are all shoved to the side – everyone stands together in support for one team – the one team that represents the country of Canada.
“Since day one, I felt the energy,” Said Norman Powell, who has grown to become one of the fan favourites. “I felt the care and how the country has really gravitated towards the Raptors.”
The excitement around the game of basketball is growing astronomically in the country as a whole. You can just feel the buzz when the Raptors come to town. The atmosphere inside the Bell Centre in Montreal was nothing short of electric, as the fans could not be more excited to welcome the Raptors to town while of course giving a loud cheer to Chris Boucher, a Quebec-native who recently sign a two-way contract with Canada’s team.
“We are the only team to have an entire country to ourselves,” Said the team’s back-up point guard Delon Wright. “It’s cool that we have fans from different parts of Canada.”