When Will The Hockey Season Start? [Answered!]

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The 2019-20 NHL season is almost upon us and while the long, cold winter months may not seem far away, the return of the puck-dropping season is a cause for celebration. The last couple of years have seen a steady decline in interest in the sport, with ice hockey making up only 2% of all sports viewership according to the New York Times. As a result, the teams that play the most dangerous games are getting penalized as the NHL has implemented a strict interpretation of its rules concerning checking from behind and player safety.

With the introduction of the new NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) last month, fans can expect to see many changes, one of which is the return of the regular season. The offseason is over and with only a few exceptions, teams can now join together and get ready for the next campaign.

Whether you’re a diehard hockey fan or you’ve found your interest in the sport thanks to the NHL, it’s time to get excited about the start of the hockey season. Below, we’ll run down some of the notable events coming up this year that you may not want to miss.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

The postseason is something to look forward to every year and this year will no exception. Over the next few months, we’ll see some of the best hockey players in the world compete for the Stanley Cup as the cream of the crop will battle it out for supremacy. It all kicks off in earnest with the NHL’s second-leg during March and April as we await the start of the regular season.

The first three games are usually reserved for preseason play, which means that the NHL’s second-leg starts on January 15 and runs through to April 15. This year’s postseason will begin on March 25 with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting the Washington Capitals, followed by the New York Islanders hosting the Boston Bruins, and ends on the night of June 10 as the Calgary Flames host the San Jose Sharks in the Cup Finals.

The Start Of The NHL Regular Season

The start of the NHL regular season is the event that hockey fans across the world look forward to each year. The league may still be in a state of change following the expiration of its CBA last month, but that doesn’t mean that the season will unfold as it did before the pandemic. The NHL has changed a lot in the past few years and one of the biggest differences is the return of the season. Up until 2020, the NHL didn’t see any games until at least mid-June, with some exceptions.

In 2019, the NHL moved its schedule back a few weeks in order to accommodate the world’s best players who wanted to play during the prime summer months. It all started with the Winnipeg Jets opening the season against the New York Rangers on October 4. Since then, every team in the league has followed suit and opened the 2020 season earlier and earlier. This is in accordance with the new NHL CBA, which provides more flexible scheduling and a 41-game season. The early kickoff will prove to be a boon for fans as they’ll get the chance to see their favorite teams before the hot summer months descend.

It’s going to be a long, cold winter as the puck drops for real this year for the first time since 2009. The last couple of years have seen a steady decline in the number of people attending games, with the average attendance decreasing by 6% in 2018 and 2019. It’s clear that the game isn’t popular enough to survive without a major overhaul, and with the introduction of the new NHL CBA, fans can expect to see many changes, one of which is the return of the regular season. One of the biggest benefits of having a longer season is that there will be more games, which means more chances for you to attend one of the many world-class matches held across North America this year.

The Regular Season Schedule

This year’s NHL regular season schedule is packed full of compelling games and amazing events. If you’re looking for a calmer, more relaxed schedule, then you may want to consider skipping over some of the more prominent dates. We’ve compiled a list of the most important games and relevant events coming up this year so you can get a full taste of hockey without leaving your home.

Most hockey fans will tell you that seeing a live game is superior to any form of media. This theory is supported by the fact that 96% of people attending games are doing so because they want to see something unique and different. Well, you can get that same thrill at home with the right device. The NHL has made it easier for fans with the introduction of its new fan platform, NHL.com Savers. The league has also made video a key part of its digital strategy, with nearly 70% of fans having watched at least one game this year via video.

The 2020 schedule is loaded with exciting matchups as we head into the new year. The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to defend their title while the Montreal Canadiens will be hungry for success after a tough 2019-20 campaign. There’s also the matter of the Olympics, which will be deciding who will represent Canada and other countries at this year’s games. Without question, this is going to be an interesting year.

2020 IN HOCKEY

The 2019-20 NHL season was an interesting one, to say the least. Throughout the year, fans saw several marquee players retire while some of the league’s biggest stars got injured. It wasn’t the best year for hockey fans, but it was an amazing year for the game. One of the shining examples of how the season turned out was the Colorado Avalanche. They exceeded all expectations, making the playoffs as a wildcard team and eventually winning the Stanley Cup. This was a triumph for the state of Colorado, who had never before won the Cup. It also marks the first time in NHL history that a Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup.

The Avs’ run was undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of the season and one of the major reasons for its success was in part to a significant rebranding of the team. Gone are the days of the Cougars, and in their place is a logo synonymous with modern hockey.

Another example of a successful team who successfully navigated a labor dispute was the New York Islanders. After going decades without a championship, the team finally got their time to shine as they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games to win the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup. The club also qualified for the Playoffs for the first time in 11 years and became the first team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup following a Playoff round loss.

The Islanders would go on to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals, where they fell in game seven, marking the third-straight game the Islanders lost to the Penguins. This year will be remembered as the one that New York City and the Islanders’ faithful finally got their redemption as the club won the Stanley Cup. The 2020 season is going to be an interesting year for the Islanders, who face an uncertain future without their superstar, John Tavares, who will be a free agent at the end of this season. Their championship window may be closing as they prepare to face the prospect of playing for the MVP in the league’s statistical rankings.

The Offseason

For the teams that didn’t make the playoffs, the offseason is a time for reflection and for some to spend more time with family and friends. We’ve seen some big-name signings come through in recent days, with the biggest being Alexander Radulov. The latter penned a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars last week and became the second-highest scoring Russian with the New York Rangers in 2019-20. Radulov recently underwent heart surgery and has been recovering at home ever since. The former Dallas Cowboy will look to re-establish himself as a premier goal scorer in the NHL.

There are still plenty of unsigned players looking for jobs, with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) looking to fill its 40 vacancies for the upcoming season. The exodus of players to the KHL has been well-documented in the past, but the number of players choosing to ply their trade there continues to grow. The KHL’s popularity has soared in recent years and with the global financial crisis of 2008 behind it, the league has a golden opportunity to increase its fanbase. The return of the season coupled with the opportunity to sign in Europe will draw more players to the KHL.

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