When Is Hockey Off Season? [Facts!]

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Hockey season is over. The Stanley Cup has been handed out, the World Cup is in the rearview mirror, and the last couple of months have been a blur of post-season play and parties (hopefully not too many).

But wait, there’s more! After the frantic post-season play and exhilaration of the wins and the disappointments and the injuries that were suffered, the NHL has suspended its season twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first suspension was for the better part of a month, and it wasn’t clear at the time how the season would resume. Several weeks later, the NHL announced a brief return of hockey, followed by another pause because of the public health guidelines that had to be considered. Then, in mid-June, the NHL gave the all-clear for hockey to return to its normal schedule.

Given all this, it’s time for the hockey off-season!

The first order of business is to evaluate your hockey team and determine which players to keep and which ones to let go. There are several options for hockey players looking for a new team or looking to improve their current one. There are also various free agents available who may fit in well with your existing squad. Finally, with the summer camps and development leagues now open for business, it’s time to look for the next generation of NHL stars. Keep all this in mind as you make your decision.

The Importance of Retaining Quality Players

The first and most important consideration when determining which players to keep and which ones to let go is how well the team played in the midst of all the commotion that occurred in the NHL during the season. The quality of the league’s top-flight talent ensured that the games were entertaining to watch, and the level of play was one of the best in recent memory. It’s a testament to the stellar play from the start of the year that the Tampa Bay Lightning were able to hold on to key players such as Andrei Vasilevskii, Anthony Cirelli, and JP Dumont despite the distraction of the pandemic and the numerous opportunities that they had to explore other leagues.

The Detroit Red Wings were also able to hang on to their elite players because of the competition within the league. The Boston Bruins have a number of quality players as well, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have high-end talent as well without having won a championship since 1967. A number of non-playoff teams, such as the Nashville Predators and the St. Louis Blues, also managed to keep their top players because of the high level of play and the increased media coverage that came with the playoffs. Finally, the Chicago Blackhawks were able to hang on to their core group of foursome, largely because of the strong competition within the Central Division.

All of this is to say that the quality of the NHL’s top-flight talent ensured that there wasn’t a huge drop-off in the quality of the game, even at the lowest levels. The majority of the NHL’s regular season games were competitive, and that’s something that we haven’t seen in years. In fact, it’s been so long since we’ve seen an entire season without a major outbreak of COVID-19 that we may soon be forgetting what it’s like to go a full 30-game season without any kind of distraction. So the importance of retaining high-quality players is clear.

The Importance of Having a Deep Pool of Prospects

While we’re on the topic of the importance of having quality players, it’s also important to have a deep pool of prospects. When your best players start getting picked off in the expansion draft, or, in the case of the Tampa Bay Lightning, signed by other teams, it’s time to start looking for replacements. Fortunately, the NHL went into lockdown for only a short period of time, giving teams a chance to find players that can help them right away.

The Vancouver Canucks, for example, were able to retain Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser, their first and second-round draft picks from two years ago, respectively. Thanks in large part to those two players, along with Thatcher Demko, the team was able to take the next step forward and make the playoffs last year. The same can be said for the Arizona Coyotes, who were able to keep Max Domi, the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and put together a team that was good enough to make the postseason.

Whether it was the ability of those teams’ veterans to step up and lead or their youth teams winning the hearts of the fans, these are the types of players that can help lead your franchise forward. The importance of having a deep pool of prospects can’t be underscored enough.

The Importance of Hiring a Good Hockey Executive

Speaking of stepping up and leading, good hockey executives make for good CEOs as well. There are several positions available within the industry, from team presidency to team executive to hockey operations. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can tailor your search to find the best candidate for the job. For example, if you’re looking for someone to take the reins as team president, you can find a number of qualified candidates by searching for team president in the job listings. Alternatively, if you’re looking for someone with specific hockey knowledge or experience, you can limit your search to only those candidates who meet your needs.

With the right leadership in place, all it takes for your hockey team to get back on track is for the players to buy into the system and the coaches to teach it to the rest of the squad. If you’re looking for a fresh new perspective that can bring new ideas to the table, consider hiring someone who may have previously worked in a similar capacity with another team. Having someone who can relate to your situation can make a world of difference, especially if you’re coming from the outside. Finally, make sure that you interview and vet the candidates thoroughly before making a decision.

The longer the NHL goes without an outbreak of COVID-19, the more people will start forgetting what it’s like to go a full 82-game season. While most hockey fans were glued to their televisions this year, following every game and making note of every detail as it pertained to their favorite teams, the players and staffers who stayed behind the scenes put in a monstrous effort, working tirelessly to ensure that the season could run as smoothly as possible. Even when the season was interrupted by two suspensions and an all-time record number of games being called off due to the pandemic, the quality of the hockey was never compromised. That’s a testament to the hard work of those behind the scenes and the skill of the players who were on the ice. Now that the season is over, it’s time for the hockey off-season!

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