The 2019-20 NHL season has been suspended for six weeks now as the world battles the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s not yet known when (or if) the season will start up again. While there’s some confidence that it won’t be canceled altogether, what happens on this front will dictate when the 2020-21 season starts.
According to this report from Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the NHL is discussing a December start to next season.
“As I hinted near the bottom of my column last Friday, the idea of delaying next season’s start until December has indeed been discussed by the NHL with its teams as a possibility, multiple sources around the league confirmed,” the report read. “The kicker is that the league still hopes to cram in a full 82-game season, even with a December start.”
LeBrun notes that All-Star weekend and bye weeks would be canceled. Christmas vacation would also be shortened under this scenario.
As with other sports who were in-season when the pandemic hit, everything seems to be in a holding pattern here. NHL teams would likely have to conduct a mini training camp before action can restart. Even if the league decided to end the regular season with the current standings determining playoff spots, this is a multi-month process.
This means it makes perfect sense to push back the start of the 2020-21 season to December. Of course, all of that is dependent on this season actually resuming in some form.