Details regarding the latest NHL planning are finally beginning to emerge this morning. Earlier we reported additional details for the ‘Return to Play’ (RTP) and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The NHL and players’ association are optimistic that a return-to-play and six-year CBA agreement will be reached on Saturday, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.
Both the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s full membership will need to approve the agreement.
Details regarding the 2020-2021 season are also beginning to emerge.
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the NHL is planning to start the 2020-2021 season in December or January. The league also continues to stand by it’s original plan to play a full slate of 82 games for the regular season.
As for next season, the NHL remains focused solely on a full, 82-game season despite a late start in December or January. They will try to squeeze it in, which means potential for Cup final next summer
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 4, 2020
The league has always stated that playing a full 82-game schedule next season was very important to the league and a primary goal. The question remains, will fans be allowed back in the stands by January? Or would the league consider beginning the 2020-2021 season similar to the 2020 playoffs with no fans in the stands.
The current schedule for the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season is as follows:
- Monday 7/13 – training camps open
- Sunday 7/26 – teams will arrive in Toronto (Eastern Conference hub), Edmonton (Western Conference hub)
- Saturday 8/1 – 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin
- Monday 8/10 – second phase of NHL Draft Lottery
- First week of October (unless there is a COVID-19 outbreak in at least one of the bubbles) – Stanley Cup awarded
- mid-October – 2020 NHL Draft (virtual)
- Sunday 11/1 – Free Agency opens
The current schedule and planning for next season would provide approximately 6-8 weeks between the end of the 2019-2020 season and the beginning of the 2020-2021 season.
By Jon Sorensen