The NHL strongly believes that teams from Canada will be able to play games at home in the 2020-21 season. This was confirmed to reporters on Thursday by Bill Daly, the league’s deputy commissioner.
According to Daly, the NHL recently had discussions with the provincial health authorities and managed to get clearance for the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Winnipeg Jets to compete in their home arenas.
“On the basis of our discussions in the past week, as well as our exchange of correspondence over the last 24 hours, we believe we are aligned and in agreement on the conditions on which each of our Canadian franchises can begin play in their own buildings for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season,” said Daly.
Canada has closed its borders with the United States for non-essential travelers due to the coronavirus pandemic and intends to keep it that way at least until January 21st. Although the new NHL season kicks off on January 13th, the ban won’t affect Canadian teams as they will play only against each other.
The NHL made several significant changes to their regular season format for 2020-21 to minimize the traveling and organized all teams in four divisions. Each team will only play their divisional opponents, with the format being carried over to the first two rounds of the playoffs as well.