Hockey fans eagerly awaiting the start of the 2020-21 NHL season might not have to wait too much longer.
The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday that the league and NHLPA have put their financial differences to the side, helping pave the way for a new season to potentially begin by the middle of January.
"Both sides confirm the financial terms from the Memorandum of Understanding, signed in June as part of the CBA extension, will stand as is," LeBrun wrote.
"So now it’s full steam ahead on continuing to hammer out details for the 2020-21 season, which both sides hope will begin on Jan. 13. Training camps could open as early as Jan. 1. There’s still sizeable work to be done on scheduling, COVID protocols, critical dates, etc."
This development is certainly a positive one, but as LeBrun notes, plenty of work remains. Any final agreement must be approved by the players' union and the league's Board of Governors.
The league and NHLPA will need to be flexible as COVID-19 restrictions change in Canada and throughout the United States. We've already seen the NFL's San Francisco 49ers be forced to play outside of their market due to local COVID-19 restrictions in California. The NBA's Toronto Raptors made the decision to play their home games in Tampa Bay to begin the upcoming season due to Canada's travel restrictions.
It's all a very fluid situation, of course.
Both sides clearly are working hard to reach an agreement, though, and if all goes well, we could be watching meaningful hockey games again shortly after the new year.