The NHL is one step closer to playing hockey in 11 months of the 2021 calendar year.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBruin reported that the NHL announced its target date for the 2021-22 season during a call with general managers on Tuesday. The NHL is hoping to drop the puck on the regular season on October 12 which is only a week later than normal.
The NHL on the GMs' call today shared its hopeful target date for puck drop next fall: Oct. 12.
Which is about a week or so later than normal.
Training camps hopefully opening Sept. 22.
Again, that Oct. 12 start date is if there are no delays. @TSNHockey @TheAthletic
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) April 21, 2021
With a September 22 start date for training camp and a possible preseason, the NHL will play hockey in every month of 2021 except for August. The NHL is excpted to complete this season’s playoffs in mid-July before quickly rolling into its normal offseason activities including the entry draft, an expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken, and free agency.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports that any delays to the 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus could push those target dates back and any starting dates need to be approved by the NHLPA.
Other news for next season includes what is expected to be a two-week break in the season so that NHL players can participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The games are expected to last from Friday, February 4 to Sunday, February 20.
Wyshynski wrote that while the NHL gave the NHLPA permission to participate in the next two Winter Olympics in the CBA extension, there are still some hurdles still to work out. The NHL, NHLPA, International Olympic Committee, and International Ice Hockey Federation all must come to an agreement. Those talks are expected to excelerate in the next two months so that the NHL can build its schedule for next season.
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