By Michael Strong

NHL commish Gary Bettman is aiming for a Jan. 1 start date for next season.

In an interview with NHL Network yesterday, Bettman reiterated that the league hopes to play a full 82-game season and have fans in arenas. Bettman said planning discussions with the NHL Players’ Association will begin shortly after the free-agency period, which begins Friday.

When the NHL and NHLPA revealed their return-to-play initiatives in July, they targeted Dec. 1 to begin next season, though that date was fluid. The NHL completed its 2019-20 season last month, when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, defeating the Dallas Stars in the Edmonton, Alberta, bubble.


The NHL draft is being held virtually last night and today.