NHL unlikely to hit January 13 start date, hub cities in play, and more

Skepticism continues to mount that the NHL will be able to hit the Mid-January start date they set for themselves. “We are focused on starting at some point hopefully in mid-January,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday.

While talks continue, neither the NHL or NHLPA have yet to work out all outstanding issues. There is hope by some that the two sides may be able to iron out all outstanding issues and vote this weekend.

NHL exploring Hub Cities

NHL hub cities
Sharks move to a hub? (NHLI)

There is a rising concern that some teams like those based in California will not be able to even conduct training camp in their home cities. “We have a couple of clubs that can’t hold training camp or conduct games even without fans in their current buildings and facilities, and we’re going to have to move them somewhere else to play,” Bettman explained.

“If enough teams can’t play, again, without fans, in their own facilities, then we may have to move more and more towards a hub,” the commissioner continued. As to where those hubs will be; Vegas, Columbus, Newark, Toronto and Edmonton are being discussed per Elliotte Friedman.

Opening Night Triple Header

The NHL is reportedly looking to kick off the much anticipated 2021 season with a bang. According to Frank Seravalli, the league may do a triple header for opening night.

On tap first would be the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks to witness the 2019-2020 Stanley Cup Banner raising. That would be soon followed by the New York Rangers battling the Boston Bruins in the East.

Finally, the West contest would likely be the Colorado Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues. This is all subject to change as is the targeted January 13th start date.

Other news and notes from around the league