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What Do We Know About the Return of the NHL?

What Do We Know About the Return of the NHL?

Hallelujah! It seems like the long-awaited return of the NHL is finally becoming something we can realistically expect. 

However, nothing is certain yet, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see things fall apart yet again, given the timeline and nature of the negotiations between the NHL, the NHLPA, and the governors. The summer of 2020 was a rocky period, as the three parties clashed over a plethora of issues, the most important being salary deferrals, the future of pandemic-related developments, and salaries. Our expert summarized the current state of the NHL return. Don't forget to check NHL predictions and tips from our experts!

An Unexpected Breakthrough

No one can deny that the NHL’s return-to-play scheme was a success. Everyone involved praised the security and the amount of attention paid to everyone’s health and well-being in both Toronto and Edmonton.  

What came about was a round of rocky negotiations, mostly centred around extending the existing CBA. The extension was eventually agreed upon, with the renewed deal set to expire at the end of the 2025-6 season. 

Once that was completed, the problem of revenue was the most significant one, as governors expressed concern about how big of a hit their net worths would actually take. They wanted a bigger cut of the NHL’s profits, but the league and the NHLPA were strongly against it. The governors weren’t willing to budge - until this Monday at least!

Player sources confirmed that, at the meeting which took place on December 7, issues with revenue cuts were resolved. The Board of Governors agreed to keep the current economic scheme in place. It was also ensured that the players wouldn’t be taking a pay cut bigger than the 20% that was initially agreed upon. 

So, with the most sensitive issues seemingly out of the way for good, what’s next on the checklist?

Vaccines, Quarantines, and Logistics 

With Monday’s meeting accelerating the road to the start of the season, everyone is now free to focus on how the NHL will work around the pandemic. According to reports, it seems that the 2020-21 NHL season will actually be the 2021 NHL season.

Since negotiations were going very slow for a long period of time, all the parties involved agreed that it’s simply not possible to start things up before the year ends. It is currently believed that team-related activities will resume around Dec. 29, and that the season will start on Jan. 13.

Nevertheless, timeframes aren’t the only thing causing a collective headache for everyone involved with the NHL. The pandemic is still raging on, with various US states taking different stances on measures that need to be taken to impede the virus from spreading.

Pennsylvania, for instance, began to impose a mandatory 2-week quarantine for all out-of-state visitors. With experts believing that the vaccine won’t be widely available until April, it’s up to the NHL, the NHLPA, and the Board of Governors to work around any and all future developments.

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