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NHL hopes to begin next season in early 2021

Updated October 6, 2020 - 5:09 pm

The NHL’s next season might begin in 2021.

The league has a target date of Jan. 1 for the start of next season, it announced Tuesday before the draft. It’s a month later than the NHL’s previous tentative start date of Dec. 1. The estimated start time for training camps wasn’t announced.

The league has numerous questions to answer before next season begins. The COVID-19 pandemic will force the league to decide whether it needs to play games in bubbles again and whether it will be able to have fans at games.

It’s a key question because commissioner Gary Bettman has estimated about 50 percent of the NHL’s revenue comes directly or directly from attendance. He previously said it’s possible the league starts with no fans, moves to limited crowds and has full buildings by the end of the season.

Bettman also has said the league plans to play a full 82-game regular season.

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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