[Updated] 2021 NHL Season: Start Date, Schedule, Plans, Divisions & How to Watch

  • By
  • in NHL
  • Updated

The 2021 NHL Season is coming back and that is good news. Originally, the event was supposed to start on January 1, but a few potholes have delayed the roll-out by a couple of weeks.

There is nothing that needs to worry fans, though. The league has managed to pull through one of its most pressing issues and sorted out its purse. Now, the NHL is ready to bring fans back to the stadiums, offer high-grade live streaming experiences, and provide NHL fans with a great time.

The league may yet change or shift some of its dates, depending on how the pandemic evolves, but for now, the dates have been set.

When Does the 2021 NHL Season Start?

  • Training camp starts on: January 3, 2021
  • NHL 2021 season starts on: January 13, 2021

The dates moved a little after the league was supposed to start on January 1 with the camp, but the date was revised back a few days.

NHL Games Schedule

We recommend bookmarking the schedule page on NHL.com for the most accurate updates but you can also find the same page below:

How Many Games for the New Season?

There will be 56 games. After the NBA announced it will return in a slightly altered format and reduced format, the question of whether other sports face the same fate has been asked repeatedly. For all we know, the 2021 NHL Season should feature 56 games as confirmed by sports journalist Greg Wyshynski, and the league.

Where Can I Watch and Live Stream the 2021 NHL Season Games?

There are many excellent options to watch the 2021 NHL Season Games at this point. While not all have been confirmed, you will generally find access at any of the following live streaming services:

PlatformCostFree TrialCable Subscription
Hulu Plus Live TV$55/monthYesNo
Sling TV$30/monthYesNo
NBC Sports AppYes

*Please note that this information is subject to change. These are usually the safest options to go with when shopping around for a subscription service to watch your favorite NHL games on. Most of these services also cover other important events, such as the MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS and so on.

Will There Be an NHL Bubble?

Nhl: Stanley Cup Playoffs Philadelphia Flyers At New York Islanders
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The bubble format has been ruled out for the most part. Players still have to isolate themselves, which is not ideal, as it may have a direct impact on their mental health and performance, but it’s much better than forcing everyone in one place during the entire season. The season will be also played to a much tighter schedule and over a period of four months, which means teams won’t get any breaks.

There will be no summer hockey, and the teams will have to hedge against many unpredictable situations involving injuries, travel restrictions and more. The format has been changed so that players can alternate between bursts of plays and some downtime, for around a week, so that they can unwind back at home.

How Are the Games Going to Be Scheduled?

Scheduling may be a bit of a nightmare. In other seasons, we would usually know what games will be played and where, and more importantly when. However, for this season, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has cautioned that fans should prepare for a bit of a choppy season with the League doing its best to adapt to state quarantine rules, travel restriction, the incidence of covid-19 infections, and more.

The head-up games will be based on proximity too rather than what the best matches are, meaning some teams could face the same opponents repeatedly.

Will Live Attendance by Fans Be Allowed?

Nhl: Tampa Bay Lightning Return From Edmonton
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We believe so, but we have no official confirmation on this. Gate receipts are a painful topic and one that should be sorted out quickly if the NHL is to see itself establish some of its financial stability.

There are other things to factor in as well, including provinces and state restrictions on sports attendance which is ultimately going to help decide if fans will be allowed back to the stadiums.

2021 NHL Season Divisions

Division A

  • Boston Bruins
  • Buffalo Sabres
  • New Jersey Devils
  • New York Islanders
  • New York Rangers
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Washington Capitals

Division B

  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Florida Panthers
  • Nashville Predators
  • St. Louis Blues
  • Tampa Bay Lightning

Division C

  • Anaheim Ducks
  • Arizona Coyotes
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Dallas Stars
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Minnesota Wild
  • San Jose Sharks
  • Vegas Golden Knights


  • Calgary Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • Ottawa Senators
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Winnipeg Jets


  • David Poole

    My understanding from what I see in regards to the new format of NHL season divisions is that there will automatically be lesser Canadian teams in the playoffs! Albeit I as well as millions should be more than pleased to be able to watch hockey in any format. We as hockey enthusiasts should commend both the NHL and the NHLPA for coming up with a “Game Plan”!

    Posted on 19th December 2020 at 3:04 pm
  • palmer

    is NHL Live tv package going to be reduced because of only 56 game season?

    Posted on 18th December 2020 at 5:46 am
  • Sherman

    Wow, talk about an article that says nothing that we didn’t already know. If you have an article on schedule–show a schedule–of there ain’t one yet no need to have an article on…well a schedule.

    Posted on 17th December 2020 at 1:13 pm
  • Andrew Powell

    This is great news. Nothing will be perfect this year but this looks like a solid plan to allow for travel, etc. and get the season underway. I hope fans will be understanding as the league and union work through issue this year as they arise. I certainly hope we can also get the opportunity to see some live action even if its just a single game.

    Posted on 16th December 2020 at 9:59 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.