Toronto Raptors to Start Season in Tampaby Alex Jordan November 20, 2020 0 comments
The Toronto Raptors announced on Friday that they will start the 2020-21 NBA season in Tampa, Florida.
The Raptors were unable to reach a deal with the Canadian government on playing at Scotiabank Arena amid the Covid-19 pandemic. An official familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that there’s too much Covid-19 spreading in the US to allow travel across the border that’s nonessential. Since the U.S.-Canada border is closed to nonessential travel, the Raptors and the NBA needed an exemption from the requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must quarantine for 14 days.
Masai Ujiri Releases Statement
“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,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “These conversations were productive, and we found strong support for the protocols we put forward. Ultimately, the current public health situation facing Canadians, combined with the urgent need to determine where we will play means that we will begin our 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida.”
Ujiri added, “We commit to continuing our work together, planning for a safe return to play in Toronto. And as an organization, we remain committed to doing all we can to promote and demonstrate public health measures to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.”
The Raptors aren’t the only team that couldn’t play in Toronto. Earlier this year the Toronto Blue Jays request to play in Toronto was denied. The Blue Jays ended up playing in Buffalo.
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos welcomed the Raptors to Tampa on Twitter.
“ WE THE SOUTH” 😂 https://t.co/hVHlJKItrh
— Steven Stamkos (@RealStamkos91) November 20, 2020
The 2020-21 NBA season starts on December 22 with each team playing 72 games.
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