St. Louis Blues And NHL One Step Closer To Official 2021 Season

Gary Bettman commissioner of the National Hockey League Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Bettman commissioner of the National Hockey League Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

St. Louis Blues fans may still have a Merry Christmas from a hockey standpoint. The league took one more step toward finalizing the 2021 season.

To say 2020 has been strange would be the understatement of many of our lifetimes. Nevertheless, St. Louis Blues fans may get some good news just in time for Christmas, which would be a nice present given everything else we’ve dealt with.

If things continue to go as they have, Blues fans will be able to dream of big saves and blazing skaters instead of sugar plum fairies when the holiday rolls around. The NHL announced it has finalized tentative plans for the 2021 season.

Right now, the main remaining hurdle is for the board of governors on the owners side and the NHLPA to officially ratify this agreement. Given the people in charge of board of governors, that does still mean a wrench could be thrown in.

As of this moment, the plan before everyone is to start the season on January 13 and play a 56-game season. There was no indication about whether this plan includes hub-markets or beginning play in each of the 31 individual markets.

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Of course, as has been the case throughout this process, Canada is proving difficult to deal with despite this being their national sport. While this current agreement includes a Canadian division, there was no concrete indication of whether the teams would remain in Canada.

As of just a day ago, there were rumors of the seven Canadian teams being relocated to markets in the United States to begin the season. Another possibility is to begin the season in a bubble city, such as Toronto or Calgary – Edmonton will be hosting the 2021 World Junior Championships, but could also be available by mid-January if needed.

As is the case in the states, the west coast of Canada seems to have the harshest reaction to the current health situation. While there are no official reports, it is widely believed that British Columbia’s restrictions are the current holdup in terms of teams starting the season in their own market in Canada.

They are not the only city with issues though. While nothing was mentioned about it in the official press release, unless restrictions are eased, there is little chance any of the California teams would be able to start the season in their home rinks either.

Regardless, it will be nice to see hockey back. Perhaps this has only been a regular offseason worth of time off, but it’s just weird to not have the Blues to watch in December.

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Maybe we’ll have to wait until January, but at least it feels like there is more a reality than previous discussions. We need to have Blues hockey back and it’s looking good at the moment.