When the NHL and NHL Players’ Association ratified the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the tentative start date for the 2020-21 season was slated for Dec. 1. But it’s looking more like that will get pushed back.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday on The Athletic’s Two-Man Advantage Podcast that, while nothing is official, there are still major challenges to iron out before the start of next season, which could impact the hockey calendar.
“What I’d say to that is that it really almost entirely depends on what it is we decide to do, and how we’re going to approach it,” Daly said. “If I had to handicap it today, it’s probably less likely than more that we would start on Dec. 1. But that’s not set in stone by any means.”
Despite the possibility of next season starting in late December or early January, the goal remains to squeeze in an 82-game season. And ideally, with fans in attendance.
"I think the priorities remain the same, we’d still love to be able to play an 82-game season,” Daly said. “Again, I can’t sit here and guarantee that will be the case. But that continues to be an objective, that continues to be a goal: being able to play in arenas that have some fan presence if not a full building. Again, it’s an objective, it’s a priority, it’s a goal.
“So, we’ll continue to see how things evolve and hopefully we can achieve some of the objectives we set out for ourselves, including the 82 game-season.”