NHL Season Start Details

Sunday, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached an agreement to play a 56-game regular season, which will run from Jan. 13 to May 8.

“The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.”

“The Stanley Cup Playoffs will feature 16 teams in a best-of-7, four-round format, and end in mid-July. The plan is to return to a normal hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season.”

NHL.com released more details:

“The top four teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs. The first two rounds will be intradivisional, with the first-place team playing the fourth-place team and the second-place team facing the third-place team in the first round. The four teams that advance from the second round to the Semifinal Round will be seeded by their points total in the regular season (No. 1 vs. No. 4; No. 2 vs. No. 3).

“The current plan is to play games in the home arenas of participating teams with the understanding that most arenas will not be able to host fans, at least in the initial part of the season. But depending on prevailing conditions, the NHL will be prepared to play games in one or more neutral venues per division should it become necessary.”

Always good to see a non-political league return.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.


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  1. Go NHL! I mean it’s cool to have a league where players hate each other and the country (NBA) but I prefer the NHL. Better game. Played a lot of hockey in my day and the stands were filled with moms and dads. All the players had both. The NHL is that X10.

  2. Dear NHL,

    You were by far the greatest professional spectator sport, whether in-person or via broadcast. Your games were adrenaline-filled, non-stop action.

    I have tried watching your and other professional league fan-less games. It’s horrendous. Abominable. The absolute worst spectator viewing experience. It’s now vividly clear that the experience I came to appreciate as an NHL fan was intrinsically tied to the instantaneous emotional ebbs that can only be realized by sharing directly or remotely with in-person attendees.

    Then you postponed games in order to 1) pay homage to a sexual assault felon, and 2) spit in the face of 99.99% of US law enforcement officers.

    Now we have your self-aggrandizing announcement of a limited schedule, new divisions, no out of division games, and no fans.

    You have chosen Morta and Atropos as your custodians. I’m out.

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