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

Charles Reid creid@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 28, 2013

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.