Save The Date for The Return of NHL in 2021
Ice hockey fans are thrilled about the return of the NHL (National Hockey League) in January 2021. Undoubtedly, this NHL season will differ from others because of COVID-19 and its associated risks. This new normal might not be ideal for sponsors, players and fans, but it is better than no hockey at all.
Here is a look at how the proposed season will work:
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By October, hockey fans are set for a season of action-packed, drama-filled games of their sport of choice. However, several postponements mean that NHL games will only start on Saturday, 30 January 2021. The NHL has used this time to ensure that necessary precautions are in place to protect the public and teams alike.
Sports betting operators are delighted that there will be an NHL season, albeit a little later than usual. They have prepared for patrons to bet now and throughout the coming season. No dates for finals are the schedule as organizers may need to alter dates and venues as they wait to see if there is an end to the pandemic in sight.
Fans are used to watching 82 games played over an approximately six-month period. This season will take on a different format, with a total of only 52 games.
The good news is that teams will no longer play in a pandemic bubble as they did in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. The league found that this approach took a mental and emotional toll on players and team staff separated from family and friends.
Something the new schedule aims to achieve is ensuring that players spend less time traveling, which reduces their risk of COVID-19 exposure. Therefore, games will be concentrated according to geography, which leads to changes in the conference and division systems fans know and love.
Travel is an unknown quantity as states may implement different protocols and regulations, making it possible for some teams to move freely while others may not. Pundits worry about the challenges cross-border games between American and Canadian teams might present. It seems likely that Canadian teams will play each other domestically to avoid international travel.
All team members, including players, will be subjected to regular COVID-19 tests and must behave responsibly to avoid an infection. As role models to millions of young fans, players should show a high degree of regulatory compliance.
While enjoying New Year, fans might wonder if they will get to watch the games live on the ice, but that depends on state and city regulations, which are subject to change. However, even when fans get into the stands, they should expect reduced com-numbers with strict health protocols in place.