NHL, players finalize deal for 2021 season

League will hold 56-game regular season from January 13 through May 8 with playoffs lasting into July.

Posted: Dec 20, 2020 8:59 PM

Sunday, the NHL and players completed a deal to hold a 56-game regular season from January 13 through May 8 with 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs continuing into July – without a “bubble” site(s).

The league's board of governors voted to approve this agreement that was supported by the NHL's Players Association executive board on Friday. 

There will be four divisions - North, South, East and West. It will be divisional play through the first two rounds of the playoffs to reduce travel and coronavirus threats.

The North Division contains only the seven Canadian teams.

The NHL did tell its Canadian teams, which includes the Vancouver Canucks, the Utica Comets parent club, that there is a possibility they will have to play in the United States this season due to hurdles with health officials. Final details on where the seven Canadian teams will play are pending agreements with health officials.

The league is allowing the possibility of playing games at neutral sites if necessary.

Most of the league will begin training camp on January 3. The seven teams that didn't make the playoffs last season can start as early as December 31.

Information from Associated Press is used in the writing of this article.

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