NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday that the League and the relevant provincial authorities are in agreement regarding the protocols necessary to enable the League’s seven Canadian-based teams to play in their home arenas during the 2020-21 season.
“On the basis of our discussions in the past week, as well as our exchange of correspondence over the last 24 hours, we believe we are aligned and in agreement on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season,” Daly said in a statement.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have been working with the provincial governments in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec on an agreement that would assuage health concerns they have regarding how games and travel into and out of the seven Canadian NHL cities could impact regulations they already have in place for the general public aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
The NHL season is scheduled to open Jan. 13 with five games, including the Vancouver Canucks at the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens at the Toronto Maple Leafs. The seven team based in Canada, the Calgary Flames, Oilers, Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Maple Leafs, Canucks and Winnipeg Jets, will make up the North Division. The NHL released a 56-game schedule on Wednesday that is made up of all intradivision games.
The North Division is one of four realigned divisions for the 2020-21 season.
The Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals will play in the East Division.
The Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning will compete in the Central Division.
The Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights will be in the West Division.