When Does The Regular Season For Hockey Start? [Solved!]

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Hockey season is here! But when does the regular season start? And what’s the difference between the regular season and the tournament season for hockey? Let’s explore.

Regional Lockout

The first week of October is often referred to as ‘Hockey season’. But that doesn’t mean that the sport is completely open for business. In some instances, regional lockouts can keep players from practicing and competing with their regional teams.

The NHL has adopted a ‘no-lockout’ policy for hockey, meaning that players are free to play in the league during the offseason. This was done to encourage the growth and engagement of the game across North America. Despite this, certain regions have opted to restrict player access for the duration of the season. This is typically due to poor performance on the ice or in the stands, and local officials don’t want to risk exposing their players to harm.

For example, the Midwest minor hockey league has a strict ‘no transfers’ policy during the regular season. According to the league, this is to protect the local talent from being poached by rival teams. While the NHL allows for players to be traded, the vast majority of its teams operate under a strict ‘no transfers’ policy. This is enforced with some of the harshest penalties in sports – giving rival teams priority over any other considerations.

In recent years, the NHL has been encouraging the growth of high schools and minor hockey in the United States. But the recent COVID-19 pandemic has left its mark, and the future of the sport looks a little bleak. Many schools have stopped holding practices and games, and organizations like USA Hockey have had to cancel tournaments.

The Midwest minor hockey league has cancelled its entire 2020 season. In its place, it’s offering an ‘imagine hockey season‘. The league is projecting that as many as one in five Americans could be playing hockey in the future. It wants to capitalize on the popularity of the sport, and help develop the next generation of players.

Tournament Season

Tournament season for hockey begins in the fall and runs through the winter. This is the time when the best teams in the NHL square off against each other in a series of playoff games. These are some of the most memorable and exciting times of the year for hockey fans.

Tournament season for hockey is one of the distinguishing factors between the regular season and the offseason. While the regular season is a continuous eight-week period, beginning in October and running through to the following March, the postseason is a shorter lived, standalone entity. Teams who make the postseason usually treat it as a mini-tournament, where they fight for their share of the good life in the NHL.

The postseason is made up of two distinct parts. The first part is the conference playoffs, which take place within a fixed set of brackets. Teams who make the postseason aren’t eliminated, they just get a chance to compete for a higher seed and a better chance at landing one of the two available spots.

The second part is the playoffs itself, which is made up of best-of-seven series. These series are usually played in the spring, after the regular season has ended. The winner of the series is determined by which team has the better record at the end of the series.

The postseason is usually the highlight of the year for hockey fans. But the 2020 playoffs have taken on a whole different form. Since the beginning of March, fans have been deprived of the simplicity and elegance that is the hallmark of a good hockey series. Series have been cancelled or postponed, and fans are left longing for the days when the playoffs were a time for celebration.

Opening Day

Hockey season is an exciting time of the year, but let’s face facts here – it can also be pretty frustrating. While it’s great to see your favorite hockey player go on a hat trick or score a glorious goal, it’s a whole different story when your team doesn’t come up with the win they need to secure a spot in the playoffs. That being said, let’s not forget about the thrill of seeing your favorite team dominate the competition in the first round of the playoffs, before being brutally eliminated in the next round. It’s a rollercoaster ride that can make or break your year and your confidence.

The best thing that can help you get past the disappointment of an opening day loss is a dose of optimism from your favorite team’s owner. On April 3rd, the Edmonton Oilers held a press conference and announced that they were ‘reforming’ their opening day roster. And boy, did that ever come through! Not only did they have one of the greatest turnarounds in hockey history, but they also secured a playoff spot and went on to win the Stanley Cup. While we’re on the subject of the Edmonton Oilers, let’s not forget about Mark Zuckerberg and his influence on Canadian sports. After the Facebook CEO endorsed the city’s NHL team in 2014, Edmontonians started referring to October as ‘Zommerbug season’. Every year since, the team has played host to the Mark Zuckerberg Game, where it donates $1 from the sale of each attendee’s jersey to pediatric cancer research.

What Is The Regular Season For Hockey?

In almost every other sport, the regular season is the period between the conclusion of the previous year’s tournament/season and the beginning of the next year’s. This is when teams get up to speed and play a few exhibition games to get ready for the following year.

The NHL’s regular season is named that because it consists of games between teams in the Eastern and Western conferences (the latter of which is renamed the ‘National Hockey League’). As one of the four major professional sports that are played in North America, the NHL has adopted a schedule that mostly mirrors the college hockey season. Thus, the regular season for hockey begins in October and ends in the following March. The NHL also organizes road trips and other special events during the season, so fans can get to see their favorite teams play live. This is how they make the most of the six-month offseason, which is when most players are recovering from their annual summer break and preparing for the next season.

Is The Regular Season For Hockey A Fixed 14-Game Schedule?

Nope! Let’s face facts here – there are still a few games that remain unscheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, teams were only required to play a fixed 14-game schedule. This is a minimum of 70 games, enough to fill a six-month period, as there were only 14 weekends in a month. In 2020, due to the pandemic, teams have had to play a minimum of 14 games. Two more have been added to make up for the lost games. This is good for fans, as they don’t have to worry about the occasional cancellation or postponement of a game. In some instances, teams have had to play as many as 21 games in a row. In the middle of March, the NHL finally gave in and scheduled the rest of the season. This is why at the time of writing, only the postseason remains unfulfilled.

What Is The NHL Playoffs?

The postseason is the process by which the best teams in the NHL square off against each other in a series of elimination games. The winner is determined by which team has the better record at the end of the series. The postseason is made up of two distinct parts. The first part is the conference playoffs, which take place within a fixed set of brackets. Teams who make the postseason aren’t eliminated, they just get a chance to compete for a higher seed and a better chance at landing one of the two available spots.

The second part is the playoffs itself, which is made up of best-of-seven series. These series are usually played in the spring, after the regular season has ended. The winner of the series is determined by which team has the better record at the end of the series.

Some fans believe that the postseason is a better representation of the talent and strength of an NHL team. The eight-week regular season might not be the best gauge of a team’s performance. These are usually the fans who follow minor hockey or college hockey. They believe that the constant turnover in college hockey, where players change teams mid-season, prevents teams from building much loyalty towards any one player or coach. This could explain the fierce competition and passion that exist at the professional level.

How Many Home Games Can An NHL Team Play In A Season?

Teams are permitted to play a total of 48 games at home in an NHL season. This is an increase from the previous number of games played at home (44). Since the beginning of the 2010-11 NHL season, teams have been utilizing the more intimate atmosphere of the home arena to help their cause.

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