NHL, Players' Association Reach Deal For 56-Game Season


One division will feature seven teams based in Canada, while the other sides will be split across the East, Central and West groups. The season will be short at 56 games, and there will be an all-Canadian "North" division of the seven teams. The league's Board of Governors was scheduled to convene via conference call over the weekend.

To continue the agreement, the National Hockey League and the NHLPA will conduct a group call on Saturday with the province's health authorities. Enough other issues, however, remain unresolved to make it possible the opener will be pushed back a few days.

To account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league's six Canadian teams will play in their own division. The rivalry between provinces has already begun on Twitter, with Toronto Maple Leaf fans making their bets.

However, provincial health orders will make moving the teams across Canada hard.

The presence of fans in arenas in even limited numbers would be determined by local, state or provincial health policies in each city.

"We have had very positive and collaborative discussions with AHS and are confident we will be playing at Rogers Place when the season begins", sais Shawn May, manager of hockey operations communications.

Last season the NHL introduced a bye week for every team in the league, built around the annual All-Star break, but there is no formal bye week this season though many teams have a multi-day break built into their schedule at some point. Camp for the 24 remaining teams will open on January 3.

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The original Jets were division rivals for the final three seasons in Winnipeg (1993-94-1995-96) with Toronto, and longtime Smith division rivals of Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver (1982-83-1992-93). Play resumed with a Stanley Cup tournament played entirely in Canada and the champion - Tampa Bay Lightning - was crowned in September, three months later than usual.

No matter your thoughts, it's safe to say that the 2020-21 season will be one for the books. Health authorities cited 86 per cent efficacy in an interim phase 3 analysis, although data has yet to be released by the company.

There won't be any exhibitions. The Canucks will play a rested opponent while exhausted just once next season, but will play a exhausted team while rested six times.

This is the first all-Canadian division in National Hockey League history.

In a letter sent Wednesday (and obtained by TSN) to the league by Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, she noted the five provinces supported the NHL's Return to Play plan, but wanted the head office to agree to some changes.

The Winnipeg Jets open January 14 against the visiting Calgary Flames, while the Oilers and Canucks meet again in Edmonton.