UPDATE: National Basketball League team to be known as Island Storm

Charles
Charles Reid
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It's official. This Storm now covers the Island.

That's the hope for the newly named Island Storm, P.E.I.'s entry in the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada.

The team, led by owners Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay, revealed the new moniker Wednesday in Stratford. The organization played its first two seasons at Credit Union Place in Summerside, but will call the Charlottetown Civic Centre home this season.

But Shaw said he can't linger on concerns about a backlash from fans angry the team left Summerside because it was a business choice.

"I'm not worried about it, now. There could be one. You make your best decision and take it from there," Shaw said on Wednesday. "It's important that all Islanders can come. That's our goal… (to be) open for everybody."

The team brought back head coach Joe Salerno for his third season and re-signed six-foot-11, 240-pound centre Nick Evans. It also released season ticket and game-day ticket details and prices.

After a rough first season, which saw the Storm finish seventh in the league and miss the 2012 playoffs, Salerno led the team to a 26-14 regular season record and an Atlantic Division title in his second year.

Salerno, who was the NBL's co-coach of the year, led the Storm to the league finals where it lost to the London Lightning. He lives in Cornwall with his wife Darci, son Camden and daughter Alexandra.

The Civic Centre is providing the basketball floor, Shaw said, and the Storm's schedule won't conflict with Charlottetown Islanders major junior hockey team or with the UPEI Panthers basketball squads.

Storm games on Boxing Day and Islander Day continue. There are a handful of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday games on the schedule, but most home games are Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

That's fine by Evans, a 25-year-old Carbondale, Ill., native, who played for Southern Illinois University before joining the Storm last season.

He was in China this summer with current NBA and other pro players, playing 22 games in 36 days across the vast country, honing his game to help his team chase its first NBL title and brooding on dropping the league final to the three-time champ Lightning.

"The team is trying to make moves for longevity. We had fans from all over the Island. (Centralizing in Charlottetown) makes the move Island-based," said Evans, who averaged 13 points and three rebounds per game last season. "Now we know we can compete (against London). We have some great pieces coming in knowing we can play with them. Good guard play, solid bigs. I've personally never won a championship at any level. (Losing last year) leaves a hunger in your stomach and a pain in your gut."

Training camp is slated for mid-October at a not-yet-determined location. The Storm opens the regular season versus the Saint John Mill Rats on Saturday, Nov. 2. Game time is 7 p.m.

Season tickets go on sale Sept. 6. Season tickets run from $234.99 to $1,499.99.

Current season ticket holders get first dibs to re-up with team from Sept. 3 to 5 and can get equivalent seats at the Civic Centre to the seats held at Credit Union Place in Summerside until Sept. 27.

Flex, courtside seat and family ticket packages are also available.

Single game tickets are $12.99 (adult), $10.99 (senior over 60), $7.99 (student) and $4.99 (youth seven to 12-years-old), while children six and under are free.

Single game courtside seats are $15.99 to $19.99.

Contact the Civic Centre box office at 629-6625 or www.civiccentre.pe.ca for more ticketing information.

On the web at www.stormbasketball.ca.

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Charlottetown Civic Centre, London Lightning Southern Illionis University

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Summerside, Carbondale

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Recent comments

  • nitpicker
    August 29, 2013 - 21:33

    There's no information at all on the Civic Centre website and the Storm website hasn't been updated since last year. It still shows the schedule for the 2012 season. Are the Island Storm open for business or not?

  • Fed up
    August 29, 2013 - 08:30

    And NOT a bright idea bringing them to the Civic Centre. They can't get crowds for hockey...what makes the City think they will come out for basketball?!?! Put in ice for hockey. Cover ice for basketball. Put in ice...what idiotic thoughts. Wonder how much money our tax dollars are putting into THIS bright idea?!

    • huh
      August 29, 2013 - 11:40

      What makes the City think they can get crowds? Its not the city that thinks it, its the owners of the team. And when you call it idiotic, you do realize that a large number of facilities do the same thing: hockey one day basketball the next?

  • what
    August 28, 2013 - 14:25

    What a stupid comment Butch........I'm pretty sure the owners called them the Summerside Storm......not the city of Summerside like your saying.......it's the owners that are hoping they can lure some fans from Summerside down to support them....that's why they called them the island storm. Should have been in Charlottetown from the beginning.....ruined minor hockey in Summerside....taking up so much ice time....won't take long for you to be annoyed by these arrogant owners.

  • BChan
    August 28, 2013 - 13:20

    Darryl, I visited PEI in 2001 for my honeymoon. Amazing place. I didn't realize how small the island was, when I got off the plane and rented a car, I found out you can drive around the entire island in 3 hours! That's crazy. Also, Summerside is not all that far from Charlottetown, you also don't have as much traffic as we do out in the GTA so getting to the game in the city shouldn't be all that bad. Moving to the larger general population, and a to a more well known city could boost interest. Also, renaming it to the Island Storm, makes everyone feel included. I love Summerside, that's where I stayed for my two weeks. But this is still a brilliant business move. Don't be so upset, hopefully you'll still support them. I know I will be pretty excited to see them come to my hometown now.

  • huh
    August 28, 2013 - 11:55

    you're taking it far too personally. For such a risky venture like professional basketball on PEI, owners are looking for long term stability and eventually, a profit. Apparently they think Charlottetown is better able to provide that than Summerside. Time will tell if they are right. If they're not, as you say, they will move on from Charlottetown too. Welcome to the reality of pro sports.

  • Darryl
    August 28, 2013 - 11:20

    I am one of the many many people from the Summerside area who supported the Storm - including when they were junk as a new team. They drew countless hours from Summerside volunteers every single game and relied on the paying fans to support them even through several losing streaks. I was also one of the same number of fans who were completely pissed off when they chased the $$$, dumped their loyal fan base and moved to Charlottetown (the centre of the PEI Universe). What's the Island Storm's next name going to be ? After they bail on Charlottetown that is...

    • Butch M
      August 28, 2013 - 13:10

      Call the Whambulance, maybe you and Basil Stewart can dry each other's eyes. Summerside tried and it didn't work out. No guarantee it'll work in Charlottetown either but at least we called the team the "Island" Storm and not Charlottetown like the self centred Summersiders did when they had the team.