What to expect from the NHL 2021 season


Mike Stobe/Getty Images from Tribune News Service

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman prepares for the first round of the 2020 National Hockey League Draft at the NHL Network Studio on Oct. 6, 2020 in Secaucus, New Jersey

Monika Jurevicius, Sports Editor

The National Hockey League’s 2021 season begins January 13, 2021 after rescheduling . Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, all teams have been split into four divisions for their safety and of their state’s traveling regulations (Candian teams will play with other Candadian teams), with 868 (58 per team) games being played this season.

“The NHL’s 2020-21 regular season will commence Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, with a five-game slate, highlighted by the Tampa Bay Lightning raising their second Stanley Cup championship banner before facing the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena,” NHL Public Relations announces on Dec. 23, 2020.

The four divisions listed by the NHL are as follows: North (Canadian teams), West, Central, East. The North division is the first division in the history of the League to have only Canadian teams. Teams will play in a similar setting as other professional sports. The Leagues hopes to bring games to home arenas but, if needed, will be brought to “neutral site” venues for certain games. 

“On Sunday, Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts told reporters that Dallas will have fans at home games, with a reduced capacity of around 5,000 people,”ESPN reporter Emily Kaplan reports.

A few changes to come are having advertisements on player’s helmets and many players being out for the season. The choice to have advertisements is a one season agreement set by the League, who will be choosing the advertisers. Some players are out for the season due to medical reasons, like three players (Corey Crawford, Kirby Dach, and Jonathan Toews) on the Chicago Blackhawks team.

“There’s no way around it: these are significant blows for a rebuilding Blackhawks team that wanted to head into the 2020-21 season with some positive vibe,” NBC Sports Chicago reporter Charlie Roumeliotis said. “But they have to mentally reset quickly.”