The NHL anticipates the league’s Canadian teams will be able to play games in their home venues when the season starts on Jan. 13.
“On the basis of our discussions (with provincial health authorities) in the past week, as well as our exchange of correspondence over the last 24 hours, we believe we are aligned and in agreement on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement.
The seven Canadian teams will be grouped into the North Division and only play each other for the duration of the 56-game schedule, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 13.
Toronto will host Montreal while Edmonton will welcome Vancouver on Jan. 13. The next day, Winnipeg hosts Calgary and Edmonton hosts Vancouver for a second straight night, according to the CBC. Ottawa opens on Jan. 15 hosting Toronto, and the same two teams will play at the same site the next day.
The teams were placed in four divisions to minimize travel and the potential for the coronavirus to disrupt the season.
The East Division includes the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
The Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning are in the Central Division.
The Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights make up the West Division.
The top four teams in each division make the playoffs, and teams won’t play outside of their divisions until after the second round of the postseason.
The top-seeded team would play the fourth seed while the second and third-ranked teams would face other in the first round. The winners of the first-round series would meet to determine a division champion.
–Field Level Media