Post-Pandemic NHL Season Debut

Post-Pandemic NHL Season Debut

Get your favorite team jersey on! 

On October 12th, 2021, the reigning NHL champions will face the Pittsburgh Penguins to ring in the start of the 2021-2022 NHL season. After two seasons impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year promises to be the first full 82 game season since March 2020.

Before the season opener, the Tampa Bay Lightning will raise their 3rd Stanley Cup banner in their home stadium of Amalie Arena as they host the Penguins lead by Sidney Crosby. On the other side of the country, the expansion Seattle Kraken (love their jersey design) will travel to Las Vegas to play their franchise opening game against the Golden Knights.

For many fans, this day was a long time coming; not just because of the expansion and new addition to the Pacific Division, but because the last full NHL season was in 2018-2019, which in Covid terms, was essentially a lifetime ago. 

Key regular season dates for fans to note:

October 23rd, 2021 – The Seattle Kraken play their home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. 

December 7th, 2021 – The Montreal Canadiens host the Tampa Bay Lightning. This time, with crowds in the stadium. 

January 1st, 2022 – The Winter Classics, held at Target field. Fans will see the Minnesota Wild take on the St. Louis Blues.

A welcome change for players and fans alike is the doing away of the temporary regional divisions implemented in the 2020-2021 season. The NHL has stated that they will be reinstating the classic Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific divisions for 2021-2022, which will allow cross-border games once again. 

Beijing Olympics 2022

The NHL Playersā€™ Association is in ongoing talks with the IIHF to finalize the agreement that could allow NHL players to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics. The hot button issue that remains to be resolved is, of course, Covid-19 and how players and teams can be insured and protected from any potential loss if a player contracts Covid. That said, the Olympics are still a go for now, with the players standing to benefit from a rather lengthy break from February 7th – February 22nd, 2022 for the Games. 

All in all, save for some new additions to the NHL family and some divisional re-allocations (looking at you Coyotes), we can expect more of what weā€™re used to from the NHL this year. In any other year, this might not be such a positive statement, but after the last year and a half of pandemic seasons, more of the same is exactly what fans need. 

By Joshua Jung