Decision expected soon on pro basketball team for P.E.I.

Transcontinental Staff
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Halifax Rainmen forward Josh Dollard drives to the hoop against Elvin Mims from the Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry in this file photo of a Premier Basketball League game from last season.

An announcement on a pro basketball franchise for P.E.I. could be made soon.

Exactly where that team will play - Charlottetown or Summerside or in both cities - remains a mystery.

The team would play in the National Basketball League (NBL).

Duncan Shaw, a former UPEI basketball Panther, and Darren MacKay have been in negotiations with the Charlottetown Civic Centre and the City of Summerside in the past few weeks.

Both cities were in the running to host the team, and a proposal was made by the ownership that the team split its 18 home games between the Civic Centre and Credit Union Place.

Shaw isn't saying much right now.

"We're not quite ready to make an announcement yet, " Shaw said Thursday. "We may be days away. Summerside and Charlottetown have both been fantastic to us. "

One of the issues with the team is the need for the facility it plays in to have a proper floor for basketball. Summerside has one, Charlottetown does not.

That means the Civic Centre would have to go out and spend $150,000 for that floor.

Dave McGrath, general manager of the Civic Centre, said that means they want all 18 home games.

"If we're going to make a substantial investment in a floor, which is about $150,000, we'd like to see all 18 games happen here, " McGrath said.

Andre Levingston, acting CEO of the NBL, said it will cost about $500,000 to put together a team and that it would take the support of the markets teams are in as well as money from other investors to work.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee told The Guardian when the parties met in June that Shaw and MacKay did not ask the city for money.

When contacted about this story earlier this week, Lee said he's heard nothing lately from the P.E.I. franchise owners.

The team would kick off its pre-season schedule in October with the regular season launching in November.

McGrath said he still thinks the Civic Centre can make it work even with all of the other activity the facility hosts.

"We already have a major tenant in the P.E.I. Rocket and that's about 40 games a year . . . along with speed skating, figure skating, home shows, world potato expo . . . we're a busy, busy facility.

"(But) we think it's very doable but it has to make sense for both parties in order to proceed. "



Organizations: Charlottetown Civic Centre, National Basketball League, Civic Centre and Credit Union Place

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside

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