Charlottetown city council says it ultimately approved more funding to keep the province's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team in the city because the team is changing its name from the PEI Rocket to the Charlottetown Islanders.
"When you throw it all together, what council basically decided was that the value of having Charlottetown in the name of the team, was worth $75,000 a year for the next two years," said Mayor Clifford Lee.
"At the end of the day we looked and said, 'What's the alternative'? And the alternative was to not have a Q team in the city of Charlottetown and that wasn't appealing to anyone. The benefit of having Charlottetown on the jerseys, to promote Charlottetown all throughout Atlantic Canada, throughout the province of Quebec, on national sports programs, was substantial in council's mind."
According to the mayor, a week ago the 15 business people looking to buy the team asked council for $225,000 in each of the next five years to support the Charlottetown Islanders.
Council said no, but approved $75,000 per year for the next two years on top of the $42,000 it already approved in the budget.
Lee said the ownership group has accepted the city's offer. Without it, he said he thinks the plan to buy the team would've fallen through.
"It's called now the Charlottetown Islanders, which is a key thing, it’s a qualitative thing which is hard to put a price on and I think it's going to do Charlottetown the world of good from all aspects," said Coun. Edward Rice.
The Rocket is one of the few teams in the league not in the black.
Lee said he expects in two years the Charlottetown Islanders will be turning a profit and that the city won't need to help fund them anymore.
None of the prospective owners have said anything publicly yet. The deal to buy the PEI Rocket isn't finalized.