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When Does The Next NHL Season Start?



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With COVID-19 still acting as a major part of day-to-day life, you probably expect to see the NHL season delayed. Of course, nobody can perfectly predict the future: things could always change, and COVID-19 isn’t necessarily going to stop some games from going ahead.

The massive amount of uncertainty in the sports industry is easy to understand, because COVID isn’t just a background event that you can ignore while you go to your favorite events. The NHL season is one of the most important parts of the sport as a whole, one that really relies on that in-person experience and constant contact between players to feel authentic. With the pandemic still hanging around, none of that becomes easy, and it could even be outright dangerous to some people.

So, when does the 2021 NHL season start? According to Gary Bettman, the current NHL Commissioner, the intended target date for the start of the season is going to be the 1st of January 2021. However, that is obviously just a projected date, so delays could push that further back.

How likely is a delay?

Even in hockey alone, there have already been cancellations for the All-Star Game and Winter Classic, both of which had been originally scheduled for January 2021. Even worse, there hasn’t been any confirmed talk of them being rescheduled later, so they might simply not happen in 2021 due to the pandemic.

We also don’t know if the 1st of January start date could be pushed back: a second wave of COVID-19 has started to appear in the US and parts of Canada, carrying the threat of even more delays and cancellations if it continues to spread and forces more lockdowns to take place. Even if the season does begin, individual games can be heavily delayed or even rescheduled due to this second wave.

With the season’s starting date still completely uncertain and up in the air, all we can do is wait for announcements and hope that the virus’ second wave begins to fade into the background instead of growing more serious. There is nothing fans can do to make it more likely, so stay patient and understand that there might not be a way for the season to take place normally.

Will fans be allowed to watch in person?

The pandemic has obviously made it difficult for a lot of in-person events to happen as they normally would, and sports, in particular, have been hit badly by this change. If you prefer being there in person to witness major NHL events, then you might be slightly sad to hear that the second wave of COVID-19 could end up making that impossible.

Travel restrictions are already a big problem for many fans since crossing the US/Canada border won’t be as simple if the pandemic is still on the rise. This can hit the players even worse – the NHL Commissioner has even had to say that the teams will be in “modified bubbles,” allowing only some of them to travel.

It is possible that fans won’t be able to visit games in person, especially if this second wave of the virus is more severe than the first. This could mean that physical ticket sales drop dramatically, and the NHL season needs to get income from another source, so don’t be surprised if virtual tickets or some kind of streaming system becomes a makeshift replacement for the real experience.

What’s coming in the 2021 NHL season?

The main draw for the new NHL season is actually the new team, giving the NHL a total of 32 different franchises as of 2021. They won’t actually be a part of this new season but have been confirmed to play the following year – with COVID-19 striking a big blow to 2020 and possibly 2021, this means that the team will hopefully avoid a large part of the pandemic.

With thirteen possible names to use, the team was eventually confirmed to be called the Seattle Kraken, to the delight and distress of multiple groups of fans. Either way, the amount of merchandise already sold with the chosen name is extremely high, so it’s undoubtedly a name that people will recognize and want to be associated with.

When the team is finally able to play, they will be part of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference.

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Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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