Sharks hockey is back. Well, almost.
The 2021 NHL season will begin Wednesday Jan. 13, 2021, the league announced Sunday. The 56-game season will run through May 8.
San Jose will play in the eight-team West division that also features the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights. A schedule of Sharks games has not been announced at this time.
The Sharks last played on March 11 when they lost 6-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks. It was a rough ending to a disappointing season, as San Jose finished dead last in the Western Conference with a 29-36-5 record and, consequently, didn't qualify for the playoffs.
This Sharks team will have a different look as franchise icon Joe Thornton signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency. But fellow Sharks legend Patrick Marleau signed a one-year contract in October for his third stint in San Jose. Bob Boughner returns as the Sharks' head coach after shedding his interim tag.
The 2019-20 season was the first time the Sharks missed the playoffs since 2014-15. After a long wait, they soon will start their path to the postseason once again.