NHL Headlines: AHL sets new start date, Gary Bettman working on NHL’s date

The AHL has announced February 5th, 2021 as their new start date for next season. Originally they had a December date but obviously were forced to move it due to COVID-19 concerns.

AHL start date Press Release

American Hockey League President and CEO Scott Howson has announced that the league’s Board of Governors has approved moving the anticipated start date of the 2020-21 season to February 5, 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis.

The AHL continues to work with its member clubs to monitor developments and local guidelines in all 31 league cities. Further details regarding the 2020-21 American Hockey League season are still to be determined.

Will the NHL follow suit

AHL start date 2021
Gary Bettman (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The NHL and NHLPA have yet to meet and work all of this out. A Return to Play Committee is being formed to work out a number of issues. However, the AHL is the number one developmental league for the NHL.

It is unlikely that this new start date was made without some input from the NHL. As noted on the AHL’s website they serve as a feeder for all 31 major league teams with nearly 90% of today’s NHLers having come from there.

The big question now remains if Gary Bettman can get the NHL’s start date in line. Regardless, February 5th is still just an “anticipated date”. You can expect when all is said and done that both leagues will be starting on or about the same time.