Bettman: Season could start in late December, January

The NHL paused this season on March 12 because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus. It developed a Return to Play Plan that included 24 teams and resumed play Aug. 1 with games played in the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton.

As for fans in the stands, Bettman said the season could start without them in the arenas and then move into a modified attendance as restrictions permit.

“How we start doesn’t necessarily mean how we have to finish,” he said.

The 2021 NHL Winter Classic, which pits the St. Louis Blues against the Minnesota Wild at Target Field in Minneapolis on Jan. 1, is also up in the air. Bettman said he is not sure what would become of the Classic if it can’t be played on New Year’s Day.

“If it were to be (postponed) we would make appropriate, suitable arrangements to make it up to the great fans in Minnesota of the Wild,” Bettman said. “How we conduct our major events obviously has the ability to be impacted by everything else that is going on. We’ll make good on it in some fashion if in fact we can’t do it as planned.”

Bettman also said expansion Seattle’s entry into the league will not delayed under any circumstance. The Kraken will begin play in the 2021-22 season.

–Field Level Media

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