NHL, Players Association tentatively agree to 56-game season

Logan Couture and Brent Burns celebrating

Sharks fans might get an early Christmas present from the NHL and the NHL Players Association.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed to TSN's Pierre LeBrun that the league and the union tentatively have agreed to details for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

"We have a tentative Agreement with the Players’ Association on plans for the 2020/21 NHL Season.  The agreement is subject to approval by both of our respective constituencies," Daly told LeBrun.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman first reported Friday that the two sides tentatively have agreed to a 56-game 2021 NHL season.

Friedman also reported that the Players Association will hold a conference call to discuss the matter Friday night.

LeBrun reported Friday night that the NHL Board of Governors will schedule a call and vote on the details of the season sometime over the weekend.

The Sharks haven't played an NHL game since March 11 against the Chicago Blackhawks. In possession of the worst record in the Western Conference, the Sharks weren't one of the 24 teams invited to participate in the NHL bubble in Edmonton and Toronto.

The NHL had been targeting Jan. 1, 2021 for the start of the season, but that's not an option anymore with so little time between now and then.

TSN's Frank Seravalli reported Friday night that the tentative plan is for the regular season to begin on Jan. 13, with training camps opening either Dec. 30 or Jan. 3, depending on if a team made the playoffs or not.


The Sharks, given their poor record, would start training camp on Dec. 30, based on Seravalli's reporting.

Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported Friday that the tentative agreement would call for no preseason games. Teams would go straight from training camp to regular-season games.

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Where the Sharks conduct their training camp is still up in the air. Based on Santa Clara County's ban on professional and amateur contact sports due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the region, the team might have to look elsewhere for a facility. The 49ers have relocated their entire operation to Arizona because they can't practice or play at Levi's Stadium. A similar move could be on the horizon for the Sharks.

Based on the reporting coming out of Canada on Friday night, it sounds like the Sharks soon will have an idea of what their schedule will be like for the next few weeks as they ramp up to their first game in 10 months.