A decade after Michael Heisley clawed the Grizzlies to Memphis, a Canadian NBA franchise has returned (albeit briefly) to Vancouver.

About 2,000 people crushed into the University of B.C.’s aging War Memorial Gym yesterday to watch the Toronto Raptors take on themselves in an intersquad match as part of the team’s 2010 training camp.

“I thought Big Country was good,” joked Raptors coach Jay Triano after the match. “Dickerson moved the ball well. Bibby had things under control. Shareef faded in the fourth.”

Triano, who was director of community relations for the ill-fated Vancouver Grizzlies, said the decision to split this season’s Raptors training camp between Toronto and Vancouver was not about trying to win new fans, but was a way to reward Raptors fans on the West Coast.

The event featured a few drills, an energetic Raptors mascot and a quartet of towel-throwing Raptors cheerleaders.

Guard Jarrett Jack even treated the crowd to a few bars of Justin Bieber’s Baby during the warmup.

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