Owners say negotiations with city are ongoing
© Ron Ward/Moncton Times & Transcript
Al Stewart of the Summerside Storm drives to the basket during Tuesday night’s National Basketball League of Canada game against the Moncton Miracles. Moncton won 103-97.
SUMMERSIDE – Ken Trenholm and his family of six went to many Summerside Storm games during the pro basketball team's inaugural season.
His young children made posters, collected autographs and cheered for their favourite players during home games at EastLink Arena.
But Trenholm said their voices, along with those of all the other fans who supported the team, are not being heard now.
The team's owners and the city are in the midst of drawn-out negotiations for the Storm's second season. If those talks break down, it would almost certainly mean the team would play next season in Charlottetown.
That's why Trenholm started an online petition, asking Islanders to support the Storm staying in Summerside.
"The owners have a voice because they're meeting with the city, the city has a voice because they're meeting with the owners, so where do the fans stand?" he said.
"I just wanted the opportunity for the fans to have a voice and show that even in the off season they want the Storm to stay."
The petition went live a few days ago, and has amassed 40 names. Trenholm would like to see that number increase before forwarding the signatures to the city within two weeks' time.
The Storm finished the NBL of Canada's first season second-last in the standings. Despite the on-court performance, local fans flocked to the arena in record numbers, boosting the Storm to third best attendance figures in the seven-team league.
Owners Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay hoped to have a deal in place with the city by last January, but no agreement has been reached to date.
Shaw said it's heartening to see fans wanting to show their support during the lengthy talks.
"This is the reason we've gone through... seven months of negotiation now because we want to stay, the people have been fantastic, the community's been fantastic," he said. "We're still at it; we're still trying to find a way to get a deal done."
About 250 season packages were sold last year, and those ticket holders are currently the only ones being reoffered seats for next season until negotiations are finalized. The team says about 80 per cent have expressed interest in renewing their tickets.
To view or sign the petition, visit: www.dreamsunlimitedchildcare.com/storm.
See the Journal Pioneer's print edition for more.