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NHL Makes it Official: The 2020-21 NHL Season is a Go

The NHL and NHLPA have formally have approved a 56-game season for 2020-21 starting on Jan. 13, with 16-team playoffs.

Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr

“It’s official: the NHL is back!,” said Jeremy Rutherford. “Ok, here we go,” said Jeff Marek. Tim Seixeiro tweeted, “All-Canadian division is happening. Get ready for basically four months of this,’ and then tweeted a video of Mike Smith fighting Cam Talbot in the Battle of Alberta from last season. There were a lot more reactions like this as everyone seems excited now it’s official.

Related: Every Important Date and Change For NHL’s 2021 Return to Play

TSN’s Frank Servalli notes the NHL and NHLPA have “formally have approved a 56-game season for 2020-21 starting on Jan. 13.” The statement from the NHL reads that the two sides have officially agreed upon terms to start the 2020-21 season on January 13, 2021 and end on May 8, 2021. From there, a 16-team best-of-seven playoff would begin with the plan to resume a “normal” hockey season in 2021-22.

The NHL and NHLPA pledged to remain flexible given the current pandemic climate and adaptable to comply with all state and provincial legislations. Their priority will continue to be on the health and safety of the league, the players and everyone involved in the production of games during the upcoming season.

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NHLPA vs NHL Bettman Donal Fehr

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said, “We are well aware of the challenges ahead” and thanked the NHLPA’s Donald Fehr for being cooperative and open to discussion during the time it took to negotiate the terms of a return. Fehr said the players were excited to get back to a season.

The statement also notes that the plan is still to play games in the respective home arenas of each team.

There are a few things worth noting regarding the playoff format:

For the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the top four teams in each division will qualify. It’ll be interdivisional play in the first two rounds (1 vs. 4; 2 vs. 3). The four teams that advance to the semifinals will be seeded by their regular season points total. It is not conference-based.

Next: What You Need to Know: NHL and NHLPA Reach Tentative Deal On 56-Game Season

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