SUMMERSIDE – One of last year’s key players for the Summerside Storm is returning for the 2012-13 season.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Al Stewart drives to the basket against Saint John during National Basketball League of Canada action at Eastlink Arena last season.
Al Stewart appeared via Skype from his hometown of Chicago, Ill., to announce his return to the team during the team’s draft party at Credit Union Place on Monday night.
The defensive player of the year for the National Basketball League of Canada’s inaugural season, the five-foot-10 point guard played 34-games while averaging 12.74 points a game and a league leading 6.21 assists a game.
Stewart played in a summer league in Chicago, winning a Pro-Am competition.
He said he was ready to return to the Island to help take the Storm to the next level.
“We lost a lot of games last year we should have won,” said Stewart. “I just want to come out, and get that bad taste out of my mouth.”
Stewart said a big factor in his return was the support the of the team’s fans.
“One thing I noticed, after I played everywhere else, the fans on the Island are the best fans I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said Stewart, who has set clear goals for this season.
He explained: “We’re going to make the playoffs, and go for the championship. I may be more aggressive, I may shoot the ball a little bit more, and I’m still going to bring that leadership role.”
Storm head coach Joe Salerno is thrilled to Stewart will be returning.
“Any time you can bring back a point guard who led the league in assists, led the league in steals, was the defensive player of the year, any coach is going to be thrilled,” said Salerno.
“One thing I noticed, after I played everywhere else, the fans on the Island are the best fans I’ve ever experienced in my life." Al Stewart
The head coach kept in contact with Stewart throughout the off-season, and believes it played a big role in his decision.
“It certainly paid off this off-season,” he said. “You’ve got to salvage relationships with guys on your team, and I’ve had a great relationship with Al.”
Stewart joins Doug McKinney and Chris Cayole as players committed to returning to the Storm for the upcoming season.
The Storm is offering a number of packages, including season-ticket, flex-pack and per-game prices for a 20-game home schedule.
The season-ticket and flex-pack prices are highlighted by adults at $199, seniors (60 and over) at $149, students (with student card) at $79.99 and youth (12 and under) at $49. There are also family and courtside packages available.
With the flex-pack packages, fans receive 20 vouchers that are redeemable at any regular-season game.
An adult single-game ticket will be available for $11.99, senior tickets are $9.99 students are set at $6.99 and youth tickets can be purchased for $4.99. There will no charge for children aged five-year-olds and under.
Family, courtside and luxury box tickets can also be purchased for single games as well.