The final details may be sketchy and even the location of the Canadian teams may be a work in progress, but the NHL and NHLPA have reached an agreement on a 56-game 2020-21 NHL season, according to multiple reports from Sportsnet and TSN, which are the NHL’s Canadian rights holders.
The NHL season, of course, is pending approval by the NHLPA and the NHL Board of Governors.
The sides have been wrangling for weeks in an attempt to figure out the logistics of a season, which both satisfied owners need to create sufficient revenues and the players’ desire to remain with their families.
Additional Updates: The Penguins will play in the Atlantic Division with most of the Metro Division, minus Carolina and Columbus. Boston and Buffalo will take their place. Of course, this is pending the confirmation of the all-Canadian division. Per Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the playoff format will take the top four teams from each division. No wild cards.
As of writing, further details have not been released, including the fate of the all-Canadian division. On Friday afternoon, a team source apprised the Hockey Now network of one Canadian team owner who informed his staff that a temporary bubble for Canadian teams was possible.
However, a high-level NHL source told the Hockey Now network Friday evening, teams will play in their home buildings, but did not provide additional details.
“Yes,” was the simple response to the primary question if teams will play at home. Our source did not address the Canadian situation, other than to express confidence it will be resolved.
The only firm detail as of Friday evening is a 56-game schedule. The NHLPA scheduled an 8 p.m. conference call to update members and approve the agreement. The NHL Board of Governors is expected to do the same this weekend.
Various dates have been published over the past three weeks regarding a start date, but training camps for non-playoff teams could begin as soon as Dec. 29. Training camps for the 24 teams which participated in the postseason could open on Jan. 3.
However, those dates are unconfirmed.
As one of the new revenue streams to alleviate the heavy losses from a lack of fans being allowed to attend games will be ads on players’ helmets. The two sides are also expected to agree to that soon, according to the Sports Business Journal.
As part of the ads on helmet deal, teams could sell separate ads for home and away games.
The NHL also unveiled reverse retro jerseys last month.
The initial negotiations were strained as the NHL and NHLPA fought over economics. The NHL owners wanted to reconfigure the CBA agreement which the two sides signed in May. Owers wanted a greater escrow and salary deferral, but the NHLPA held firm.
The owners dropped their demands and the season planning began about three weeks ago.
For now, the good news is–We have a 2020-21 NHL season! Details TBD.