NHL To Attempt Hosting A Full 2021 Season
The 2020 NHL season adjusted to the demands and protocols of health experts battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The league had to host a shortened and postponed season this year. But for the next season, the NHL is prepared for what the future has to offer.
NHL commissioner Gary Brettman is positive that the league would be able to host a full-season next season. An 82-game schedule with the usual four-round, best-of-7 format in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is expected.
“I anticipate playing a full season next season, 82 games, full playoffs…How and when we do that is something that we don’t all have enough information to make any decisions, and anything would just be sheer speculation. Our goal is to get back to as greatest a sense of normalcy as possible under whatever circumstances are presented,” Brettman said in an interview.
The NHL initially planned to start the next season on December 1, a flexible date that can allow them to push back if the COVID-19 pandemic raging around the globe gets worse. As of September, Brettman confirmed that the next season might not begin until late December or possibly early January. The league is still looking into every option for how the next season could play out in the field, but all decisions and conclusions will depend on national and local government restrictions that would be in place next year.
The delayed start of the 2021 season might impact the 2021 Winter Classic between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, which is currently scheduled for January 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Commissioner Bettman admitted that no plans have been made yet if the Winter Classic gets cancelled on January 1.
“If it were to be [postponed] we would make appropriate, suitable arrangements to make it up to the great fans in Minnesota of the Wild,” Bettman said.
The only good and stable news this year is that the ownership of the 31 franchises in the league, soon to be 32, will continue to participate next year despite the crash in revenue this year. Owners are currently covering all expenses to continue the season.