The new NHL season will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.
The regular season is scheduled to end on May 8, which will be followed by the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The top-four teams in each realigned division will qualify for the 2021 postseason, which will be played in the traditional best-of-seven, four-round format. It is slated to conclude around mid-July and the first two rounds will be within each division. “The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.” The NHL also announced that each team in newly-formed East (Boston, Buffalo, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington), Central (Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville and Tampa Bay) and West (Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, San Jose, St. Louis and Vegas) divisions will play every other team in its division eight times, while the all-Canadian North Division (Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg) will play every other team in its division nine or 10 times. Training camps will begin on Jan. 3, but the seven teams that did not participate in the 2019-20 Return to Play will be permitted to start as early as Dec. 31. There will be no preseason matches.