NHL Event Calendar Released
Plus: The Prospect of NHL Players Competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics
Looking Ahead to 2022
The 2021-22 Season is Going According to Plan: In a given year, the NHL begins the pre-season in the final two weeks of September, followed by the regular season starting in early October. As the coronavirus pandemic limited the 2020-21 season to 56 games, which kicked off on January 13, 2021, the NHL appears to be back on track.
The target start date for the 2021-22 NHL season is October 12, which is set to feature a traditional 82 game season. The 2021-22 season will be the 104th NHL season that will be played since the league's inception in 1917. The upcoming season will also feature the Seattle Kraken, the latest expansion team to enter the league.
2021-22 Event Calendar is Jam Packed: The 2021-22 NHL season will be the 14th consecutive year of the Winter Classic, first played in Buffalo, New York on January 1, 2008, between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. At the time, the 2008 Winter Classic featured the largest crowd in NHL history with 71,217 fans.
The only two NHL games with more fans occurred at the 2020 Winter Classic held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, between the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators with 85,630 fans, and the 2014 Winter Classic held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, which set a record with 104,173 fans for an NHL hockey game. This year's Winter Classic will highlight the Minnesota Wild versus the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis, the home ballpark to the Minnesota Twins.
The 2021-22 season will also feature the NHL Stadium Series starring the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, the home stadium to the Tennessee Titans.
The first NHL Stadium Series featured four games that began on January 25, 2014, which was played between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks for a crowd of 54,099 people at Dodger Stadium. With another Stadium Series that season, the New York Rangers competed with the New Jersey Devils the following day on January 26, 2014, at Yankee Stadium, with the Rangers playing again at Yankee Stadium on January 29, 2014, versus the New York Islanders. The final game of the Stadium Series was on March 1, 2014, between the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field, the home stadium of the Chicago Bears.
In addition, the 2021-22 season will be highlighted by the NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena, the home arena of the Vegas Golden Knights. The weekend will present the NHL All-Star Game and the NHL All-Stars Skills Competition, highlighted by the league's fastest skaters, most accurate shooters, and players with the hardest shot.
2022 Winter Olympics in a State of Doubt: The 2022 Winter Olympics is scheduled for February 4, 2022 in Beijing, China. However, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is hesitant about how the Olympic Games will influence the 2021-22 NHL season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the NHL can firmly announce the schedule for next season, the NHL will continue collaborating with the NHLPA, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to determine whether NHL players will participate in the event. While talks proceed about NHL players competing at the Beijing Games, the verdict from the NHL will come down to whether or not the conditions are suitable for the players.