When Does The National Hockey League Season Start? [Updated!]

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The sports world is currently in the middle of the 2019 NHL season, which means you have to be wondering – when does the NHL season start?

The NHL is the premier professional ice hockey league in North America. It was founded in 1917 and has grown to include many teams in cities across Canada and the United States. Every year, around this time, we get excited about the start of the NHL season and then, suddenly, it’s over. The season has started and we have to wait until the next one to start up again.

It’s never fun being sidelined by sports injuries, but you have to admire the relentlessness some athletes show. Whether it’s a torn ACL, MCL, or meniscus; NHL players seem to be able to overcome the odds and play on.

This year, we ranked the top 30 NHL players based on their numbers from the 2018-19 season. Before we get into the top 10, let’s take a quick look back at how the 2018-19 NHL season performed financially.

Overall Performance

Thanks to the NHL’s strong balance sheet and consistent, albeit modest, financial performance, owners can still reap massive profits even during bad seasons. This past season was no different as the league posted a 7% increase in revenues from the 2017-18 season and a 7% decrease in operating expenses. Overall, this resulted in a $70 million profit, excluding one-time charges, which the league is required to report.

One way the NHL increases its profitability is by selling expensive team merchandise such as jerseys and hats. During the 2018-19 season, the league sold $1 billion worth of merchandise including these hockey staples. In most cases, these products are pretty much uniquefied, allowing the team that sponsors them to retain their identity, and generate significant goodwill.


The NHL collected $3.975 billion in 2018, an increase of 7% from the previous season. This is largely thanks to the game growing in popularity around the world. In 2019, the NHL sold more games and had more viewers than ever before. Thanks largely to the game being available in more places than ever before, interest in hockey seems to be at an all-time high.

Although television rights have increased in value, individual game tickets have decreased in price, which means that people are able to afford the games.


Operating expenses for the 2018-19 NHL season were $3.87 billion, a decrease of 7% from the previous season. This is largely due to lower ticket prices, reduced staff and player salaries, and less traveling due to the pandemic.

The NHL had to adjust to the new normal by doing away with some of its most prestigious events such as the All-Star Game and the NHL Winter Classic. While these games generated a lot of interest and excitement, they didn’t make financial sense anymore given the reduced number of fans in attendance. The league also took a hit this past season because of the new collective bargaining agreement. The salary cap has been increased, which means fewer teams can afford to buy expensive players.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it was a good season for the NHL. Thanks to the wealth of its franchises, the league continues to be able to grow, even during challenging times. The numbers back this up. Revenues increased 7%, operating expenses decreased 7%, and the league still managed to post a $70 million profit.

Now that you know when the NHL season starts and ends, you can start planning your summer vacation around this exciting time. You might want to consider heading to a game or two, especially if you’re from Canada. You can find out the dates for the rest of the season at nhl.com.

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