P.E.I. Rocket hockey team offer on table
Team lost $1.5M since coming to Charlottetown
An offer has been made by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to buy the P.E.I. Rocket, it was announced at a news conference in Charlottetown Wednesday morning.
The Rocket owners said the offer came from the league on Monday to sell to an unknown buyer.
Serge Savard Jr., who owns the team with his brother and father, said his family did not go looking for a buyer for the team, but he said they can't keep losing money.
He won't say what the offer is, but he notes that recent sales of teams have been in the $3.5 million range.
"So I suspect the commissioner and its governors to have a group somewhere that I've never spoken to," said Savard.
"This is the truth, I suspect the league is buying this franchise because it has a plan."
There are rumours that a group is interested in moving the francise to Sorel, Que. Savard said his family is willing to be partners in an ownership group in that location.
Although Savard admits the team seemed to have turned a corner this year by making it to the playoffs, he said the Rocket lost close to $300,000 last year, and a total of $1.5 million since the franchise came to Charlottetown in 2003.
"I cherished every moment I was here … probably going to stay here, I love it. But this is just financial issues," said Savard.
The owners want to keep the team in Charlottetown if possible, said Savard, and would be willing to be part-owners with a local group. But they want to share the risk.
A deadline of April 26 has been set for a local offer.
Team vice-president Trent Birt is now frantically trying to put a deal together by contacting local investors including P.E.I.'s Brad Richards who plays for the NHL's New York Rangers.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said the city has no interest in owning the team.
"I'm not prepared to say to council that we invest major money into keeping the team here," said Lee.
"This is something that has to work from a business perspective."