The Storm were established in 2011 and made their debut in the inaugural 2011–12 NBL Canada season. They were originally owned by Prince Edward Island software company owners and millionaires Darren MacKay and Duncan Shaw, who played major roles in founding the team. Initially, it was unclear whether it would be based in the island's cities of Charlottetown or Summerside. However, it was later confirmed that the team would play their home games in Summerside, specifically at the Credit Union Place. NBL Canada president and co-founder Andre Levingston praised the co-owners at the announcement, "We want the right individuals who are going to bring you the very best, because you deserve the very best. That is why we have these two gentlemen here." Comparing Prince Edward Island's low population to the relatively sparsely populated Green Bay, Wisconsin, MacKay said, "We're going to be the Green Bay Packers of basketball."
A name-the-team contest that was sponsored by several newspapers was held to determine the Summerside basketball team's nickname. After receiving more than 400 entries, it was announced that they would be called the "Storm." According to McKay, it was chosen because "it's short, to the point and it has so much opportunity to play on the name and market the team." He also said it worked well through alliteration. The nickname was suggested by 14 people. A contest to determine the Storm's mascot name, sponsored by Basketball PEI and Greco Pizza Restaurant, was held in September 2011.