The Dallas Stars have been invited back to Charlottetown for next season's training camp and city officials say they're close to a deal.


Charlottetown officials say the return of the Dallas Stars for next season's training camp would happen whether or not Brad Richards, above, is still on the team. ((Ben Margot/Associated Press))

The National Hockey League club's players were on P.E.I. in September for three days, before the 2010-2011 season, training at the CARI and Civic Centre rinks.

City officials were in Texas last week and have invited the team to stay for four days this time.

The NHL team will come even if Murray Harbour's Brad Richards is no longer with the Dallas club. He becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 and has been the subject of trade speculation this season.

Wayne Long, events development officer with Charlottetown, said it would be difficult to negotiate a deal based on one player.

"So both [the city and the team] are of the understanding that at the end of the day, if Brad's a part of the team, it's a huge coup for both of us," Long said. "And if not, the deal carries on. You know, it's a huge opportunity for us and a huge credit for us to be able to secure a professional sporting team regardless of what players are on the team."

The Stars also have another Islander on their roster in Summerside's Steve Ott.

Long estimates the economic spin-off from the Stars' last visit was around $500,000, with three quarters of the tickets sold for an inter-squad game at the Civic Centre bought by people from off-island. The visit cost the city about $30,000 and they expect a similar price this time.

Long believes a deal could be reached in the next couple of weeks.