NHL expects Canadian teams to play home games this season


(NEW YORK) — The NHL expects its Canadian teams to be able to play home games in their arenas this season, deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.

The league’s season is scheduled to start on January 13, after the NHL and the NHL Players’ Assoication reached a deal on a 56-game season. The playoffs would run until July, when the Stanley Cup would be awarded.

The format of the season will be unique, with four divisions — North, South, East and West — and all play confined within those divisions through the first two postseason rounds. That, in an effort to minimize travel and the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak to disrupt the season.

All seven Canadian teams will play in the North Division, meaning they would not have to cross the U.S.-Canada border, which is currently closed to non-essential travel into late January.

If needed, games could be played at neutral sites.

Last season, the NHL completed its playoffs in a pair of bubble environments in Toronto and Edmonton.

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