UPDATE: PEI gets pro basketball team

Staff ~ The Journal Pioneer
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Host city not yet announced


SUMMERSIDE – P.E.I.’s professional basketball franchise is now a slam-dunk.

The only thing that remains to be seen is where the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) franchise will play its home games.

The league announced its formal acceptance of a P.E.I. team on Tuesday.

Cornwall residents Duncan Shaw and Darren MacKay co-own the franchise.

Shaw said a decision on the host city will be announced later this week, but revealed the team will only have one home base. 

“You have to pick a place to play, but it’s very much an Island-wide franchise,” said Shaw. “We’re going to try and have our folks in every community on the Island, and try and get out there and spread the word about what we're trying to do.”

There has been speculation on whether the team would play all of its home games in either Summerside or Charlottetown, or split its schedule between the two cities.

The NBL schedule is comprised of 36 games, half of which will be played at the home venue. The team will begin its schedule in early November.

The Summerside Chamber of Commerce is hosting a business mixer on Thursday, and promise a special announcement “that brings good news to the ‘Island’ and ‘Summerside.’” Sources say the announcement may be related to the NBL franchise.

The manager of the Charlottetown Civic Centre previously said negotiations with Shaw and MacKay were ongoing, but scheduling conflicts with the P.E.I. Rocket hockey team could be an issue.

Summerside’s Credit Union Place has the advantage over the capital city in the form of a basketball court, a legacy of the 2009 Canada Games.

The Civic Centre doesn’t have a floor, and would require funding of up to $150,000 to cover the expense.

NBL president Andre Levingston left the venue decision up to the owners, but said the entire province will be in for entertaining basketball regardless of where the team plays.

“(Islanders) are going to see some unusually big kids walking around – big strong and fast,” he said. “The entertainment is going to be unmatched. They can’t really fathom yet what to expect, but they’re going to be absolutely thrilled when they see the level of play that these guys have in our league.”

The NBL will be made up of seven teams, including squads from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario.

The league will hold a three-round draft Aug. 20 to 21 in Toronto. The first day is open to free agent players from around the world, while only Canadians will be drafted on the second day.

The schedule has left the Island team’s owners with lots to do, and little time.

“Now we scramble,” laughed Shaw. “The draft is in two weeks and we are talking to some coaches, players...and starting to organize some sponsorships. There’s an awful lot of things to get done, but we're putting together a good team and I think we can put it all together.”

For more on the league, visit www.nblcanada.com








Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Cogsdale Corporation

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Cornwall

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Recent comments

  • DEV
    August 09, 2011 - 18:29

    You can single me out all you want Crystal but I speak the truth. This will sell for a game or two and possibly if they managed to get into the finals. But other than that this will sell as well as the clippers. You know the clippers right? The local football team thats backed by the players parents. You don't need to spend money to support a team, but unless your husband his brother and you plan to buy a couple thousand tickets each game this will surely die. Say what about MMA? sport that has proven to continuesly sell out in Moncton. How about that Crystal? Lets see another sport come to PEI! By the sounds of it you'll be right beside me on that.

  • Alternative
    August 09, 2011 - 15:45

    It's nice to have an alternative to hockey, hockey, and hockey! Hopefully it will be decent basketball. Now if we could only get an MLS club in the Maritimes!

  • Islandgal
    August 09, 2011 - 13:13

    This is wonderful news. It is about time another sport started getting some attention. The world doesn't revolve around hockey! I am absolutely looking forward to attending the games.

  • Islandgal
    August 09, 2011 - 13:12

    This is wonderful news. It is about time another sport started getting some attention. The world doesn't revolve around hockey! I am absolutely looking forward to attending the games.

  • Crystal
    August 09, 2011 - 12:48

    DEV.... Just because you do not have faith in yourself or in this province or it's athlete's does not give you the right to insult them without even first seeing how good the team is. I am sorry, but I know some excellent basketball players.. My husband for one, and his brother are both awesome players. I think this is a chance that we need to take advantage of. This Island has amazing athlete's, and not just in hockey either. I am not sure that there will be too many Islanders playing on the team this year, or in the next few years, but this opens the door for them in the future. I love that this is happening and I urge all Islanders, from all across the Island to support this effort. There will always be people like DEV who simply look for the bad in every situation, but if us Islanders stick together and support this, I think it can go a long ways. However, people like DEV do deserve a vote of thanks, as it is people like him that push us "GOOD WHOLESOME SUPPORTIVE" Islanders to do what is right. There has been a lot of complaining over the years that we do not have professional sports teams, and I am quite sure DEV would have been one of those that complained... Now it is time for us Islanders to stand up and be noticed... Let's support this like we supported the Senators in their first season or two.. Let;s make this happen, and put the Island on the sports map!!!

  • Dev
    August 09, 2011 - 11:51

    Better get tickets fast, going to be hard to get floor seats for this snooze fest.