Basketball

Raptors pre-season game in St. John's cancelled

It'll be a trip that the Toronto Raptors and basketball fans in Newfoundland won't soon forget.

Sadly, it'll be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Thursday evening's pre-season tilt versus the Cleveland Cavaliers in St. John's was cancelled due to condensation on the floor. The 18 C temperature and rain in St. John's during the day, combined with the sell-out crowd of 7,500 fans, is believed to have caused the condensation.

"I think we all were concerned once we came out and the floor was still slippery," said the Raptors' Michael Curry, who's also the president of the NBA players association. "They did a good job of trying to make the floor better, but I think it was just too dangerous of a chance to take to go out."

"Toronto, we led the league in player games missed last year (due to injury), so we definitely don't need to have a situation where a player gets hurt because the floor isn't adequate."

The heavily-hyped game at the Mile One Stadium, home to the St. John's Maple Leafs of the AHL, was the hottest show in town as tickets sold out in less than three hours when they went on sale weeks ago. Newfoundland basketball fans were anxiously awaiting the chance to see the Raptors and Cavs' rookie guard LeBron James.

The game was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. ET but was delayed when Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill and Cavs coach Paul Silas complained to officials about the heat in the building.

After a 75-minute wait, the game was called off.

Raptors GM Glen Grunwald addressed told the angry crowd after the game was called off.

"It is with great regret we can't play this game. I personally had been looking very much forward to playing this game because I had heard such great things about the people of this great city," Grunwald said, as he was drowned out by a chorus of boos.

"I hope you understand that it's a safety issue. I will make you one promise, the Toronto Raptors will return to this arena and play a game within two years."

with files from CP Online

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