The Guardian, covering Prince Edward Island and Charlottetown is reporting this morning that the Dallas Stars are getting close to a deal that would bring our boys to the north pole Charlottetown for at least a portion of training camp in September of 2010, if not most of it before the exhibition season begins on the 21st.
The Guardian has learned that the City of Charlottetown and the Dallas Stars organization are close to signing a deal that would bring the NHL club's training camp to the Island capital this fall.
Rumor has it that a contingent from the Stars organization was in Charlottetown last week and that Wayne Long, events development officer with the City of Charlottetown, was showcasing the city.
When contacted on Friday morning, Long said he wasn't in a position to confirm anything yet. "We hope to have some closure to this situation in another two or three weeks,' Long said. The City of Charlottetown made a formal proposal to the Stars organization earlier this year to have the NHL organization move part of its training camp to the Island capital. Mayor Clifford Lee and Long travelled to Dallas this winter for a five-day meeting in Texas with the organization
In an interview at the time, Lee said the city has been working on the file for some time. "We’ve been having conversations for over a year," Lee said. "The city has been working with the Dallas organization for over a year now with a view to having the city of Charlottetown as a base for their training camp." [The Guardian]
This move will take what has been a celebration of the return of hockey amongst the faithful in Dallas away from the fans, and of course, Defending Big D. In a town where hockey is a fourth rate sport, it's profile will be reduced even further by having the athletes 2,362 miles away (Thanks, Google.)
Needless to say, if this comes to pass it is disappointing to us here, who can't exactly afford to get on a plane to Prince Edward Island for a week. It is not uncommon to have training camps away from home, of course. Baseball teams and football teams do it most commonly and the Stars used to go to Colorado for a number of years.
Perhaps it's time for a change, after having missed the playoffs for two consecutive years. Perhaps a team building atmosphere can be achieved and the time away from home will serve to get our boys off to a better start. I think we as fans are certainly willing to trade open-practices for wins. We understand that the success of the team comes before the will and whim of the fan. Perhaps I'm just spoiled after having the team so close in recent seasons.
Nevertheless, for a team with declining attendance and limited media coverage, I think one is forced to conclude that moving training camp to Prince Edward Island and away from the hundreds of fans who would be in Frisco otherwise is a little...counter-intuitive. Even if Brad Richards hails from Murray Harbour, PE.
But clearly I am more than a little biased, belly aching about a few days like I am.
Update: Camp will open officially on September 17th according to the DMN.