The National Hockey League itself didn’t have better news when it came to the recent rumour that the 2020-21 season will start later than first expected.
At first, it was believed, even by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that the 2020-21 regular season would kick off in December. However, Frank Seravalli of TSN recently revealed that most general managers across the league are expecting the 2020-21campaign to start in mid-January or even February, and on Wednesday, his colleagues Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger confirmed that the season would indeed start later than expected, thanks to the information provided by deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
“NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly joined me on the Two-Man Advantage podcast with Scott Burnside today, James, and I said ‘listen, all signs seem to be pointing towards Dec. 1 being less likely,’ and Bill Daly said ‘well, it depends on what kind of season we’re going to have, but if you’re going to ask me to handicap it, yes it’s less likely than more likely that we’re not playing Dec. 1’,” explained LeBrun.
“So, that’s the first public admission of that potential calendar date. Also important is Bill Daly doubling down and saying the NHL still hopes to get a full 82-game season in, even if it means starting in January. I don’t know how exactly you get that done, smarter people than me will figure that out, but that’s important to note as well. Also, has no real interest in having a whole bubble season. That’s not practical. They’re going to have to find another way to make money and have a season next year.”
Dreger wasn’t more encouraging, noting that this very different offseason was going to make things complicated for general managers for the upcoming campaign.
“Before you get to 2020-21 and the start of next season, what that might look like, there’s going to be season-ending chaos at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Teams are in organizational meetings right now around the National Hockey League, especially the cap teams trying to figure out how do they get down to that flat cap of $81.5 million. Beyond that there’s another group of teams because of financial situations involving their NHL owners who are looking at an internal cap which is never good news for GMs. And some say that internal cap for a lot of clubs could be in the low 70s.”
We’re sorry this is not more encouraging and that (for a rare occasion) rumours appear to be true. We suspect that the NHL will possibly want to delay the start of its 2020-21 season as much as possible to allow its teams to safely welcome fans during their local games, in order to earn significant additional income.
But let’s see how long fans will be willing to wait…