NHL looking to keep mid-October start for 2022-23 season
The NHL is looking to start next season roughly around the same time in mid-October as they did this season.
According to Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading, not only are the owners keen on the idea, but so is major broadcast partner ESPN.
“We know that this year didn’t start until October 12th,” he said. “Again, that was part of [the 2020-21 season] going so late and trying to catch up… But there are people who enjoy the mid-October start that we had this year, including ESPN, including some U.S. teams and I’m told that right now the NHL is leaning towards sticking with that mid-October start.”
NHL looking at mid-October start for the foreseeable future
Pre-pandemic, the NHL normally opens in early October. The 2019-20 season saw the puck drop on October 2.
During the 2016-17 season, the NHL started on October 12 to accommodate the World Cup of Hockey in the summer. The scheduled was also condensed due to each team having a bye week.
The Players’ Association negotiated the bye week as part of its agreement to allow the All-Star Game to become a 3-on-3 tournament. Players who don’t attend typically go away for the All-Star break, but the bye week allows everyone some time off during the season.USA Today
Even though that season started late, the Stanley Cup was awarded on June 11, 2017. This season the Stanley Cup Final could run to June 30.
Another note is that the NHL really wants to get NHL Free Agent Frenzy back to July 1. Due to the pandemic, the bell for free agents to sign will be July 13, 2022.
If the league is steadfast in a later start and also making sure free agency opens on July 1, we could be looking a tighter schedule with more back-to-backs and three in four nights going forward.
Long live the EBUG (Emergency Backup Goalie)!