- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2020

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have reportedly reached an agreement for a 56-game season, with a potential starting date of Jan. 13.

Training camps for teams that didn’t qualify for the NHL’s return-to-play bubble could open by Dec. 30, while the remaining teams can open training camps on Jan. 3, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli. Those dates could change, however, Seravalli reported.

There are still significant hurdles for the league to address, though, including local health and travel restrictions, particularly for the league’s Canadian franchises. Seravalli reported the agreement between the NHL and NHLPA includes a 23-man roster with the creation of a four-to-six player taxi squad. A maximum of 29 players can travel and practice with the NHL team.

The preliminary agreement is still subject to pending approval from the league’s board of governors and the NHLPA, although the movement is a promising step toward a season being played following weeks of back-and-forth between the sides.

It’s still unclear if teams will play in their home cities or if hub cities — such as the NHL used to complete the playoffs this summer — will be employed once again. The NHL had initially sought a Jan. 1 start date, but that proved increasingly unlikely as discussions dragged on.

Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported there will be no preseason games played; teams will go right from training camp to the 56-game regular season — likely on Jan. 13.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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