The NHL season is officially a go.
A couple days after the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement on a framework for the upcoming season, the deal was made official after a Board of Governors call on Sunday.
The league and players announced in a joint statement that a 56-game season starting on January 13, 2021 has been confirmed, with teams beginning the year in their own buildings without fans.
That potential “All-Canadian” division looks to still be a very realistic possibility, too.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 20, 2020
The NHLPA and NHL announced today an agreement to play a 2020-21 regular-season schedule of 56 games beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 and concluding on May 8. As part of the agreement, the Stanley Cup playoffs would feature 16 teams in the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format and conclude around mid-July with the plan of returning to a “normal” hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season,” the statement reads, in part.
NHL bubble cities still a possibility
The statement lays out border closures and travel restrictions still in place in Canada and the U.S., leading to the decision to play strictly intra-divisional games this season. The release also notes that “depending on prevailing conditions in both local markets and across North America, the League will be prepared to play games in one or more ‘neutral site’ venues per division should it become necessary.”
Other key dates have trickled out since the tentative agreement was put into place on Friday, with the trade deadline falling on April 12, the Expansion Draft on July 21, the Entry Draft on July 23-24 and free agency opening up on July 28.
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