Toronto Raptors will begin play of the 2020-21 season in Tampa Bay after getting rejected from playing home games in Canada by the federal government.
In a statement from team president Masai Ujiri, the Raptors worked “diligently with public health officials at the local, provincial and federal level to secure a plan that would permit us to play our 2020-21 season on home soil and on our home court at Scotiabank Arena.”
Ujiri says the conversations were “productive” but that the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the team’s “urgent need” to determine where to play, resulted in the team beginning play out of Tampa, Florida.
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“We want to thank all levels of government and their public health officials for their dedication to this process, and for looking after the health of Canadians. We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto,” continued Ujiri’s statement.
He says the Raptors remain committed to “doing all we can to promote and demonstrate public health measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.”
Ujiri says even though the Raptors will be away from their fans, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
He urges fans to keep cheering from afar and concluded he looks forward to “the day we are all together again.”