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According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the 16-player return-to-play committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and one source on it told LeBrun that he thinks the 2020-21 NHL season will kick off sometime between Wednesday, January 20 and Monday, February 1. However, nothing is determined yet.
The Sports Business Journal reported that the NHL is still targeting a start of Friday, January 1, but that appears to be unlikely as that will mean teams will have to open training camps as soon as next week to make that happen.
It has been previously reported that the NHL will realign the divisions for this season only due to the border closure between Canada and the United States, which does not appear likely to be lifted anytime soon. It appears almost certain that the seven Canadian teams will make up one division. In that case, the NHL would split the other 24 teams south of the border into three divisions, and teams in the same division would play each other all season long.
The league has explored hybrid and bubble systems to at least start the season but it looks like each team will play in their home cities. Whether fans (at some capacity) could attend would be up to the local governments.
The league is exploring a 48-to-65-game season for each team. There has yet to be any talk about what the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs would look like.
The Stanley Cup will likely have to be awarded sometime before Friday, July 23, as NBC holds the rights to the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
After the NHL asked the players to prorate an additional 10% of their salaries on top of the 10% that the two sides agreed to as part of the CBA extension through the 2025-26 season, communication between the league and players’ association halted for a little while but the two sides appear to have gradually picked back up in discussions.
There remains a lot of work for both sides in order to get the 2020-21 season underway.
The 2020-21 NBA season is slated to begin on Christmas Day.
The players’ Return to Play Committee has another call scheduled for this afternoon. The 16-player committee has been meeting regularly. One source on the committee says he feels a season start somewhere between Jan. 20-Feb. 1 makes more sense at this point, but nothing decided.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 1, 2020
By Harrison Brown