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NHL lays out tentative plans to have a 48 to 60 game season

The NHL still plans to start its season Jan. 1, but the campaign will probably be limited to 48 to 60 games, Bill Daly, the league’s deputy commissioner, said in a phone interview Friday.

Teams will probably play home games at their own rinks, and hub cities — Edmonton and Toronto were used for the 2019-20 postseason — have not been ruled out but are likely not going to be used, Daly said.

At the latest, the plan is to end the Stanley Cup playoffs by mid-July. The earlier they end, the more normal the 2021-22 season will be, Daly said.

Because of the coronavirus, the divisions will be realigned for this season to keep travel light.

Travel restrictions between the United States and Canada will probably cause the league to form an all-Canadian division, according to Daly.

Training camps are expected to open in mid-December, Daly said, adding that the coronavirus has caused plans to be fluid and that the league has to be “flexible” if changes need to be made.

Daly said each city will determine how many fans, if any, can attend games.

If a coronavirus vaccine is approved and widely circulated, the number of fans permitted could change later in the season.

In an effort to limit travel, the schedule is expected to include several baseball-like series, during which a team hosts an opponent for, say, three games, Daly confirmed.

The league hopes to end the playoffs by July 15, which would be ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Daly said the league needed to add some openings on the schedule in case games need to be postponed because of a hit from the coronavirus.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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