NHL memo put to vote features Dec. 1 start for 2020-21 season

The NHL is targeting Dec. 1 as the start of the 2020-21 season, according to a memorandum of understanding obtained by ESPN that is being voted on by NHL players. The league's board of governors also must approve it.

The NHL Players' Association on Wednesday began a full membership vote on a four-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement and on return-to-play protocols. Results are expected Friday.

The critical dates in the memorandum of understanding are all tentative and could be pushed back, including:

  • The Stanley Cup Final will begin Sept. 20 and end no later than Oct. 2

  • The 2020 NHL draft will be held Oct. 6

  • Training camps for the 2020-21 season will begin Nov. 17

The NHL is keen on awarding a Stanley Cup this summer. Training camps for the 24-team tournament are scheduled to open on Monday, with teams traveling to the hub cities -- Edmonton and Toronto -- on July 26. If all goes according to plan, games will begin Aug. 1.

Sources told ESPN that the NHL is planning to have three games a day in each of the hub cities, with the first games starting at noon local time. That means six games a day during the qualification round and round-robin play, with potentially more than 15 hours of hockey a day.