Storm moving in?

Dave Stewart
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Basketball team owners, Civic Centre in discussion about options when one-year contract with Summerside ends

George Fudge of the Moncton Miracles tries to guard Summerside Storm’s Stephen McDowell during National Basketball League of Canada action earlier this year.

The Summerside Storm and the Charlottetown Civic Centre have had discussions over a potential move to the P.E.I. capital, The Guardian has learned.

Duncan Shaw, who co-owns the team with Darren MacKay, didn’t deny talks have been held but said they are still negotiating with the City of Summerside over staying at Credit Union Place.

The Storm signed a one-year contract with Summerside last year.

“We’re negotiating with Summerside and we’ve got backup plans,’’ Shaw said Wednesday. “We don’t have an agreement signed anywhere yet so we’re trying to keep our options open.’’

Shaw said the team is happy with the support it received in its first season in the National Basketball League of Canada.

“We had 4,000 (fans) at the last game with two teams out of the playoffs. I think that says it all. It’s been fantastic (and) it’s a beautiful facility,’’ the team’s co-owner says.

“We’re negotiating to see what we can come up with (in Summerside) and just trying to keep lots of balls in the air so I have somewhere to put a basketball team on the court next year.’’

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says no one from the Storm organization has contacted him about a potential move.

“I have heard the rumours but nobody from the organization has contacted me to have any discussions,’’ Lee said.

The Storm had been in negotiations with Charlottetown before the team’s inaugural season but talks broke down. If the Storm was to move, Charlottetown would need a basketball floor and could cost as much as $200,000.

“We’d have to get a floor from somewhere,’’ Shaw said. “Whether the city (of Charlottetown) bought one or we bought one and adjusted for rent . . . it is an issue.’’

Management with the Civic Centre, general manager Dave McGrath and board chair John Abbott were spotted at a recent Storm game in Summerside while Shaw and his family were checking out the atmosphere at the Civic Centre during a recent P.E.I. Rocket game, all leading to more speculation.

Abbott said discussions haven’t progressed to the point where anything is imminent.

“None that have gone as far as ‘do you want to move’?’’ Abbott said. “For (the Storm), it’s more about can we accommodate them. We can do anything if that’s what happens.’’

Abbott said the Rocket, as the Civic Centre’s major tenant, would have to be consulted on any changes.

Abbott said he wishes the Storm the best of luck in hammering out a deal in Summerside but the door to the Civic Centre’s board of directors remains wide open.

“We’re open for business,’’ he said. “We’d love to have them.’’

Shaw said he’d like to sign a deal somewhere soon.

“The league wants us to nail down a lease.’’

Organizations: Charlottetown Civic Centre, Credit Union Place.The Storm, National Basketball League of Canada Storm organization

Geographic location: Summerside, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • b-ball momma
    March 22, 2012 - 10:40

    Ok, this is ridiculous. This is becoming a Charlottetown/Summerside & Summerside/Charlottetown...bashing match.....let's grow up people!!...some of our children and grandchildren may be reading this and do you want to pass on all those feelings of dissension to them?...let's stop this NOW. It's ridiculous this Island it too small for all that animosity.....I'm sure the Storm franchise with do what is best for it's team and it's fans. In my eyes I don't really see this as a money making scheme at all ...Ahhh...I think they can come up with much easier ventures for making money. I do believe they are fulfilling a passion of their own plus giving back to the Island at the same time....NOTE.. I said Island because they have been trying to bring it to the whole Island. They had to situate somewhere and Summerside was the best choice for them at the time. Now it is up to Summerside Management to pull their heads out of the clouds and make sure the Team is as happy to return as WE the fans are to have them...Come on S'side management you have a good thing here, don't screw it up! I have not seen this much community interaction or should I say Island interaction in a very long time. Let's be the fine hosts that we claim to be and MAKE IT WORK!!!.....Hockey/Baseball/Basketball/'s all good, if it helps take us away from our stresses in life....we can have it all. My Hope is that The Team return because they feel wanted in our community by both the fans and THE CITY. I think the fans have already proven that over and over.

  • Damien Noonan
    March 18, 2012 - 10:02

    Where do all these people get their imformation from, mr. free tickets,i was one of those people who got 4 free tickets,and never missed a game after that,even went on line to watch the team play.i think it was a great thing and lets the people see what its all about,a great business move... mr.Business graduate,nice % number,pull it out of your ouners close buniesses every day,just read the papers.and as for the owners paying the bills ,your right,but wheres the money coming from...THE FANS....some glad your not running my business.. Have any of the people who is putting down Summerside and its basketball team down,ever been to a game??The numbers are the numbers,game are high class,players and coaches are great,and the fans, well are 200% behind the team.So please stop putting Summerside and the Summersde Storm down,after all the teams name is ....THE SUMMERSIDE STORM...and there are a lot of people waiting to get season tickets

  • Reality
    March 16, 2012 - 15:09

    Oh I love those comments about Ch'town....I'd wager a steak dinner that over the last year, Ch'town has hosted more sporting events than S'side and successfully too! As far as no support for the last place Rocket? Do a little research....for a last place club they've averaged 1,200 fans, which is more than I thought possible with such a rotten season. You should look in the mirror and ask why is the Junior A club in S'side not even breaking 1,000 a game for a team that came back in the 1st round down 0-2 to win the series....crowds of 700-900 for 3 PLAYOFF games....that's ridiculous for being a self-proclaimed "SPORTS TOWN OF PEI". Yeah that rink is a beaut up there, but ya can't fill it....can ya?? Oh sure the first year it opened everyone flocked to it when the Caps ran to the finals....what since then?? Oh and when are tix going on sale for that mega-concert that keeps popping up....I hear it'll be a dandy.

    • reality check
      March 18, 2012 - 08:48

      Reality needs a reality check. The reason the Caps draw what they do is because fans are bored with the product. We should have Major Junior in Summerside but that sorry excuse for a major junior team called the rocket are standing in the way. Island hockey fans should be watching the Former Lewiston Maineiacs this year in Summerside but Serge Savard Jr. is the reason we are not. One can only imagine fans flocking to Summerside to watch the Maineiacs who would have had a good shot at a league title or at least a final 4 birth like last year. Don't forget that Ch'town turned away both Bathurst and Lewiston before settling on the Rocket and only when they knew Summerside wanted a team. Do you remember the Caps/ Abbies days when crowds of 3000 or more were at the Civic Center. Did you happen to notice that more than 50% would be Prince County fans! As far as the concert goes, has the Civic Center ever hosted a concert with a name as big as Elton John, not once but twice.Fans in this end of the province are very supportive of their sport teams and events that come this way!

  • Billy mackendrick
    March 15, 2012 - 19:25

    Mr. FairPlay why not offer some ideas? I'm not saying I am the worlds smartest man, but I have a great ablity to see bad investments, and carelessnes. I supported the storm, I paid the price for me and my family to sit floor level, and we loved the games, whit that said I also love parks and recreation for my kids, and for the city to invest any money that could have been used for me a tax payer is just not a good idea for me. Mr. FairPlay I would also like for you to quote some of my ideas that I have posted, as I am sure I keep most of them to myself as there can be too many that may not like some of them. I had the choice to live anyplace I wanted, I choose summerside because this is my home, and will be a better place if people would start to think before they act. P.s mr FairPlay why not use your real name?

  • Move Out
    March 15, 2012 - 09:50

    All they do for Summerside is make the Rinks Ice even worse then it already is ... They tie up minor hockey times and think its alright to have young girls dancing around with hardly anything on ... Disturbing!!!

    • Seriously MOVE OUT
      March 16, 2012 - 10:44

      Move out...I think your comments are disturbing...Young girls dancing around with hardly anything on??? Do you ever go watch a swimming meet, or a gymnastic meet?? I think you need to think before you type!!! This team is doing alot of PEI and Summerside, oh right your only a hockey fan.....

  • SeasonTicketOwner
    March 15, 2012 - 09:09

    If the team moves out of S'side, I will be canceling my season ticket.

  • Johnny Fairplay
    March 14, 2012 - 21:50

    I would ask Billy M how to save; he has all the answers on these message boards

  • SunnyRoadz
    March 14, 2012 - 21:17

    Civic Center? who in their right mind would move a professional team into that dump of an arena. Place is a joke, needs to be torn down and replaced asap. Charlottetown needs a 5000 seat world class facility or they are never going to be able to draw any major events, they are barely hanging on to the lowly Rocket. If they build it, they will come

  • Jerry Bingley
    March 14, 2012 - 19:25

    Before I start, I am not a basketball fan, but I am a Business graduate AND let's clear something up a lot of Islanders don't EVER understand.... Did you EVER see a businessman in business to lose money?? By the way, the answer is NO !! It's not about Summerside vs. Charlottetown, or Tignish vs. Souris, YES it is about making money for those who invest. Kudos to the owners for shopping around. 65% of the fan base is from Hunter River to Souris. Locate in Charlottetown you say....Why the heck not. They gave S'side a shot, now let the Owners decide what to do next. They are paying the bills, not you. Good Luck next season Charlottetown Storm.

  • Brandon
    March 14, 2012 - 18:09

    I truely hope that this does not happen and the Summerside Storm are a Summerside team again next year. It is not hard for Charlottetown and area buisness' to sponser the team to help with costs and get good publicity, look at Courtside Sneakers for one. I think that the team will get more consistant paying attendance in Summerside next year as those "Free Tickets" have mostly, if not all, turned into Summerside Storm fans but if they move I think it will be a different story. The City of Summerside needs to do what they can in there means to make sure that the Summerside Storm stay put. Great job done by ownership and management this year and as people are saying "if it's not broke, don't try to fix it."

  • Jimmy
    March 14, 2012 - 17:56

    My guess is why they so many people attend in Summerside was due that they were giving away tickets and selling them for dirty cheap. Moving is a no-brainer

  • Say it isn't so
    March 14, 2012 - 17:01

    All I can say is, very simply, I have put down a deposit for 3 season's tickets, but if the Storm moves to Ch'town, I will ask for a return of my money...I will NOT go to the Civic Centre or anywhere else in Ch'town to support a team whose games we thoroughly enjoyed. We never missed a game in the inaugural season including the away games...watched them all online and even attended one of their games in Saint John. We LOVE the Storm...they are fantastic community ambassadors and if Summerside lets them get away...heads should definitely roll ! The Summerside Storm Team is the best thing that has happened in and to Summerside in my 65 year old memory! Basil and Councillors...KEEP THE STORM IN SUMMERSIDE!!

  • whaaaat
    March 14, 2012 - 16:54

    This makes no sense...they are the SUMMERSIDE storm

  • Dev
    March 14, 2012 - 16:47

    I didn't want to have to say I told ya so.. Wait, yes I did. I said it from the beginning, a basketball team won't last in Summerside or in Prince Edward Island for that matter. It doesn't sell. People can tell you all these numbers about attendance but they don't mean a thing. With the team giving out over 50% of tickets for free it doesn't hold any weight. Nobody wants to pay $10 a ticket to see mediocre basketball players and a bunch of 12 year olds frolicing for a half time show. Just cut your losses Mr. Shaw.

  • Elmer Flood
    March 14, 2012 - 16:10

    This would be a kiss of death, for the franchise, if it moved to the unpopular Civic Center. This is also typical of Charlottetown to try and stay one step ahead of Summerside.

  • corey
    March 14, 2012 - 14:30

    Come on people, it says they only signed a 1 year lease. This is a ploy for the city of summerside to lower their lease payments! It wouldn't make sense for them to move to Ch'town!!

    March 14, 2012 - 14:11

    The perception from people that are making comments seems to be that the Storm "want" to move. I don't see where this article, or Mr Shaw's quotes suggested that they "want" to move. I'd say a more likely scenario is that the city isn't doing their due diligence to "keep" the Storm. Anyone who has seen the gentlemen, and I don't use that term loosely, in the community can speak to their importance to our youth. Not everything can be measured in dollars and cents. Summerside needs this team more than any individual making the decisions cares to acknowledge or admit.

  • Free Tickets
    March 14, 2012 - 13:36

    What people are not getting here is that the team is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Summerside. I understand there is little coporate support and that well over half of the tickets to every game are given away FREE (yes free) to fill the seats. Charlottetown is where the team can survive.

    • Ricky
      March 14, 2012 - 18:11

      Haha...hundreds of thousands!??!! I think not. You've been completely misinformed.

    • Bobandy
      March 14, 2012 - 18:33

      Charlottetown is where the team can survive? Are you kidding me? You mean survive like the PEI Senators? Or the Abbies? Or the Rocket? I realize that these are two different sports but one thing is for certain: People in Summerside support their teams, while people in Charlottetown will support the Murphy's.

  • Dave
    March 14, 2012 - 13:29

    Stay in Summerside. Charlottetown is a shorter drive for me but the sight lines of the civic centre are horrible for watching events and Charlottetown seems to take their sports teams for granted.

  • Andrew
    March 14, 2012 - 12:37

    If the Storm leaves Summerside, the city that fully supported and made the team one of the top 3 in the league for attendance, the Storm can count on losing all that support ... a very dumb move on their part but it is likely a money issue and as we all know, the almighty dollar will have the final say. I for one would like to see them stay, but I am not travelling to Ctown to see them if they move.

    • paula ramsay
      March 15, 2012 - 14:27

      I heard the news about the Storm leaving Summerside and I am so dis appointed to hear it!! I can't believe that our city would not try everything in their power to keep the team here!And if it is the team wanting to leave,then let them go.My family and I supported this team from the beginning,and if they go to Ch,town ,then you have lost our support.I will never go to Ch'town for the games.NEVER!!Charlottetown will Not support the team!They don't even support their Rockets!Why doesn't the PEI Government give some money to The Storm in Summerside,like they give to the Rockets!They should stay in Summerside!

  • Lundyloo
    March 14, 2012 - 12:11

    OMGosh that would be awful if the Storm moved to C'town. Everything goes to C'town. The Storm is the best thing to happen to S'side in a long, long time - and there it goes...of course, our City wouldn't do anything to help keep it would they. Very disappointed.

  • Cat
    March 14, 2012 - 11:53

    I agree with both above. Stay in Summerside! Like No Chance said, there are already supporters in Summerside and I know many who live in C'town who travel to Summerside to support the team. And it would be cheaper for the island to keep it in Summerside since we already have the basketball court. If it ain't broken.... don't fix it. :)

  • Dunked
    March 14, 2012 - 11:43

    Stay in Summerside......Charlottetown is LOSER CITY and the Civic Centre is a dump

  • no chance
    March 14, 2012 - 10:51

    Worst move that the Storm could do. Stay in Summerside where you know that the support is. If you come down to Charlottetown, they'll be less of an atmosphere and who wants to sit at the Civic Centre when you can sit in the Credit Union Place in Summerside??

  • Steve
    March 14, 2012 - 10:42

    If it ain't broke don't fix it. STAY IN SUMMERSIDE. The only possible advantage I see for moving to Charlottetown is there is more night life to enjoy for the players. Just provide some transportation a few nights a week and let the guys enjoys themselves...a lot cheaper than paying out $200,000 for a new basketball floor. Duncan, if you are in Summerside this is one (likely two for company) season ticket you have...if in Charlottetown, one (two) you lost.

    • Joe
      March 14, 2012 - 21:09

      Does it really matter if the team is in summerside or charlottetown??? The team and possibly even the league will fold in 2-3 years