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When Will The 2020-21 NHL Season Start?

Posted by AJ Lee on

It's a weird time to be a hockey fan. It's the middle of October and instead of questions like, "Will our new rookie take the next step?" or "Did those offseason trades fill the gaps in our lineup?", a lot of hockey fans only have one question: When does the 2020-21 NHL season start?

As of right now, there is no date set in stone to start the season. Commissioner Gary Bettman has stressed several times in interviews that the league needs to maintain a high degree of flexibility when it comes to starting the season safely in order for the season to be a success.

Initial thoughts of a Dec 1. start (the original tentative agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA) seem to have come and gone as the situation continues to develop. This would mean players would need to start training camps on Nov 17. in order to prepare for the season.

The new, most popular date being thrown out there is Jan 1. - which is causing us to uncontrollably speculate that we could see the 2020-21 NHL season start off with an outdoor game. Sadly, at this point, this is just us spreading rumors...but that would be quite the way to kick off a season!

On the other hand, there are people in the industry that aren't quite convinced that the 2020-21 NHL season is even going to happen. With an overwhelming amount of revenue coming from game-day activities, the NHL simply cannot survive without fans in the seats.

"Who knows if we're going to be playing? If we aren't playing in front of fans, a lot of teams can't make it. That's including us, to make a serious financial commitment to fund the team without playing in front of fans," said Bill Foley, owner of the Vegas Golden Knights and a member of the NHL Board of Governors. "I don't believe Gary Bettman is going to have us fly all around and play in empty arenas."

Without a massive TV deal in place like the NFL, the NHL is not in a position to finance an entire season (or even a shortened season) if fans are going to be stuck watching from their team from the couch instead of in a packed arena. Even if stadiums are allowed to fill to 25%, 50% or even 75% capacity, a lot of teams throughout the league won't be able to make a profit.

There's even further speculation that the season could be postponed until Feb 1. or later. All we know right now is that nothing is set in stone and things can change in a moments notice.

Fingers crossed.

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