Prior to the start of the NHL Draft on Tuesday night, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that they’re hoping to begin the next regular season on January 1st, 2021.
That date is only a month behind from their original desired start date, and it gives us just under three months longer to wait. It’s an extremely tentative date and a lot needs to happen between now and the, but it gives Sabres fans an idea of when they might see Jack Eichel and Co. return to action.
A bigger comment is that the league still intends to play an 82-game season, which would run the season well into the summer months, and that’s without any COVID hiccups.
“Our hope is to have a full season, full regular season, and to have fans in the building, but there are a lot of things that have to transpire, many of which if not most of which are beyond our control before we can finalize our plans.” – Gary Bettman
It’s difficult to see a full 82-game season happen, and they may be better off attempting a 48 or 60-game season. Since they pulled off providing a safe way to complete the 2019-20 season, it’s encouraging that hockey could return in the near future.
There are a ton of obstacles in the way before January 1st, though. How they are able to create a safe environment and strict protocols will be an ongoing process up until then.
At least we have a date, but over the next couple of weeks and months, hopefully we hear more about a possible plan, schedule, and confirmation of all the details.