Report: NHL will play at least 48 regular-season games during 2020-21 season

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 11/2/20

The NHL is targeting a January start for the 2020-21 season. While we don’t know many details about the upcoming season, ESPN’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski provided an update about the length of the upcoming campaign. 

Kaplan and Wyshynski report that the league will play at least 48 regular-season games next season and nothing less. Awarding the Stanley Cup ahead of the July Tokyo Olympics makes sense, but not necessary, according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. 

“I think there is some flexibility if we were to choose that route. There’s a lot left to be played out on the Olympics front too,” Daly said. “We have models that extend past the Olympic time period. Those are alternatives that are on the table. I can’t tell you they’re the ones that are necessarily going to be pursued, but I think there’s some flexibility there.”

The NHL previously utilized a 48-game schedule for the 2012-13 shortened lockout campaign, but teams typically play 82 games during the regular season. 

Daly and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman still haven’t announced plans for fans to attend games, but that is their goal. According to Wyshynski, the league wants fans in the stands for the playoffs if state restrictions allow it. 

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