The NHL has announced the cancellations of the Winter Classic and the All Star Game for next season. If there is a next season.
NHL cancels Winter Classic and All Star Game
In a press release from the NHL they announced the cancellation of these two high profile events.
The 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Minnesota Wild facing the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021. The Florida Panthers were to host the 2021 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., originally scheduled for Jan. 29-30, 2021. Both events have been postponed due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus. The League intends to return to both Minnesota and Florida for these signature events in the near future.
“Fan participation, both in arenas and stadiums as well as in the ancillary venues and events that we stage around the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, is integral to the success of our signature events,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer. “Because of the uncertainty as to when we will be able to welcome our fans back to our games, we felt that the prudent decision at this time was to postpone these celebrations until 2022 when our fans should be able to enjoy and celebrate these tentpole events in-person, as they were always intended. We are also considering several new and creative events that will allow our fans to engage with our games and teams during this upcoming season.”
Today’s announcement does not impact the joint declaration by the NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association on Oct. 6 that we are targeting on or around Jan. 1 as the start date for the upcoming NHL season.
The NHL still targeting a January start date
While the NHL is keeping to the January 1st start date, it is unlikely that they will hit that target day. So when will the next NHL season begin? We know what Gary Bettman has been saying, “Anyone throwing out dates is just speculating.” Of course, that is naturally what people are going to do. However, there are some hints and clues coming out of the NHL rumor mill these days.
While there is still much uncertainty with regards to COVID-19, such as the status of a vaccine, what the borders will look like, just to name a few. We are starting to get some ideas as to what may happen soon.
In a recent interview on SiriusXM, Gary Bettman mentioned a mid-January to early February start date as a possibility. So keep your fingers crossed hockey fans.