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NHL Looking at January 13 Start Date, World Junior News

The NHL and NHLPA have finalized their financial issues and the two sides can now get back to focusing on a January 13 start date.

Multiple reports from hockey insiders on Tuesday note that the NHL and NHLPA are one step closer to the start of the 2020-21 NHL season, assuming the pandemic cooperates. Both sides have figured out their financial issues and now it’s a matter of health and safety, along with the logistics of another strange-looking season.

Related: NHL Pushes Back Season Start Date, Looking at 56-Game Schedule

According to Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun of TSN, the NHL and NHLPA finalized their financial issues. The NHL essentially gave in to the players who were vehemently opposed to changing the terms of an agreement they signed less than five months ago and as such, that agreement will hold. Now, it’s a matter of waiting to see what comes of the COVID-19 pandemic over the next few weeks and if it will push things back.

The new start date is pegged to be January 13 and both sides are looking at a 56-game schedule.

From there, assuming no further delays, Dreger notes that NHL training camps will likely be ten days long and there will not be any exhibition play. The talk that the seven teams that did not qualify for the NHL bubble last season might have a pre-camp is also out the window.

LeBrun quotes Bill Daly in The Athletic, when the NHL deputy commissioner said:

We are moving forward with the process of working through all of the issues that need to be addressed and agreed to, and that are obviously unique to playing a season during a pandemic.

This included the NHL backing down their proposed changes to escrow and deferred salaries and now the league can get down to planning and protocols.

NHL COVID-19 Tests
NHL COVID-19 Tests

It’s Not All Good News

There’s still a lot of work to do and today there was news out of the World Juniors tournament that a number of players were testing positive for COVID-19, including four members of the Swedish team. If things trended in the wrong direction, Team Sweden noted they may be forced to pull out.

Albertans are bracing for increased safety protocols from the provincial government Tuesday afternoon and that could have an impact on the tournament as a whole. Hockey Canada has measures put in place so if there are changes, they should be minimal.

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