The NHL’s Deputy Commissioner, Bill Daly recently spoke with TSN’s Pierre Lebrun and reiterated a January 1 start date. Due to to the NBA news approving a December 22 start, it was wondered if the NHL would follow suit.
Bill Daly: January 1 remains our objective
Bill Daly said that the league is still focused on a January 1 start date, but as Lebrun pointed out, the NHL-NHLPA Return To Play committee has not yet met.
“The joint NHL-NHLPA RTP committee has yet to meet (nothing yet scheduled). Though a source says top leaders of NHLPA/NHL have been in daily contact over the 2020-21 season”Pierre Lebrun
Current NHL state of affairs
So when will the next NHL season begin? We know what Gary Bettman has been saying, “Anyone throwing out dates is just speculating.” Of course, that is naturally what people are going to do. However, there are some hints and clues coming out of the NHL rumor mill these days.
While there is still much uncertainty with regards to COVID-19, such as the status of a vaccine, what the borders will look like, just to name a few. We are starting to get some ideas as to what may happen soon.
How many games?
The NHL has held firm they want a full 82 game schedule. However, any practical and rational person understand that even if condensed that would take them right back into an August playoffs.
While there’s some positives for TV to start future hockey seasons a little bit later, no one wants to be playing for the Cup against the Summer Olympics. That is why many league insiders believe a 60 game schedule is the most likely. That could have the Cup awarded by early July.
The last discussion about a schedule had the NHL playing no less than 48.
Where will they start playing?
This is the big unknown. Will it be a hub city for each division? Will all arenas be open but with social distance seating? The bottom line is the NHL can’t go forward without ticket revenues.
According to several reports, the NHL may decide to open with a bang on Lake Louise in Alberta. The backdrop of majestic mountains with hockey going back to its roots of frozen lakes and ponds is pretty tantalizing.
Ultimately, this is going to be the biggest hurdle for the NHL to deal with. Yes, the NHL can open a season in some remote mountains, but they can’t play an entire season there. What do you think this is? Mystery, Alaska.