NHL

NHL announces 56-game 2021 season will start Jan. 13 and realignment with Canadian division

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A new NHL season is on the way. On Sunday, the league announced it will play a 56-game season starting Jan. 13, 2021. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are slated to begin May 8 and last into July.

The league and NHLPA have come to an agreement on key dates and framework for the 2021 season, including scheduling, temporary realignment and COVID-19 protocols, among the scheduling highlights is that teams will only play other clubs in their division during the regular season.  

The NHL created a Canadian division as part of its realignment, called the North division, along with the West, Central and East divisions this season.

North

Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg Jets

East

Boston Bruins
Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
Washington Capitals

Central

Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Blackhawks
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
Detroit Red Wings
Florida Panthers
Nashville Predators
Tampa Bay Lightning

West

Anaheim Ducks
Arizona Coyotes
Colorado Avalanche
Los Angeles Kings
Minnesota Wild
San Jose Sharks
St. Louis Blues
Vegas Golden Knights

The news comes following a lengthy negotiation process in which the NHL and NHLPA found themselves at a stalemate over financial issues. After initially targeting a Dec. 1 start date, the league and players’ association pushed back the proposed dates as they continued to battle over concessions. 

The two sides reached an agreement on a financial arrangement in July but — much like the situation we saw play out with MLB earlier this year — owners informed the players that they were seeking additional concessions because of the state of the pandemic. The players held their ground and, this week, the two sides moved forward with the initial financial agreement. 

Following a four-month shutdown due to COVID-19, the NHL successfully completed last season with an expanded Stanley Cup Playoffs played within two bubble cities (Toronto and Edmonton). Over the course of the NHL’s return to play, the league conducted 33,174 COVID-19 tests in those two hub cities and had zero positive cases.



 

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