The Toronto Raptors spent their day off at a different kind of basketball practice Monday afternoon when the team made a visit to MLSE Launchpad. After the TCDSB held their annual grade 7/8 South Region Girls Basketball Tournament, the girls were surprised by the entire Raptors team to help out with drills, workshops and activities.
The team wanted to show its support in empowering young women in sport, and bring awareness to the importance of advocating for these young athletes, who often don’t get the same opportunities as the male sports teams in their communities.
There were several different activities for the kids and players to participate in — Pascal Siakam was leading groups in drills, while Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. took photos in a fun photobooth with the players, and Fred VanVleet joined the young players for an interactive workshop about female empowerment and supporting young women in sport.
MLSE Launchpad is a Sport for Development Complex in Toronto supported by the various MLSE sports teams that offers programming to youth at no cost barrier.
When asked about the importance of this event, Fred VanVleet noted how much he was learning about certain disadvantages women have in sports, and mentioned how he wanted to prepare himself for when his own young daughter is old enough to participate in sports, so he can know how bets to support her.
Young athletes in Toronto will have the chance to catch professional women’s basketball in action when the WNBA makes its first visit to Canada this spring. There will be an exhibition game played at Scotiabank Arena on May 13th between the Chicago Sky and the Minnesota Lynx. This is an important step in the process of hopefully getting a WNBA Team in Toronto, and also an opportunity for these young players to see professional women’s hoopers live.
Fred VanVleet said that he would love to attend the WNBA game on May 13th, and thinks Toronto would be an excellent place to expand the WNBA.
Fans can purchase tickets to the WNBA game on May 13th on March 8th on Ticketmaster.
The players and kids both seemed to throughly enjoy the activities at MLSE Launchpad on Monday, and it was sure an afternoon the student athletes will not forget for a long time.