The NHL won’t take it outside and open 2021 with the Winter Classic in Minnesota but still hopes to get the hockey season going around the start of the new year.
The league on Thursday canceled the Winter Classic scheduled for Jan. 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis and All-Star Weekend that was set for late January in Sunrise, Florida. It said those moves don’t change the league and players’ target date to begin on or around Jan. 1 in the hopes of each team playing a full 82-game season.
No guarantee of being able to host fans led to the cancellation of the two signature events. The league hopes to bring them back to those cities in future years.
The Minnesota Wild were supposed to host their first Winter Classic next season at the home of Major League Baseball’s Twins against the 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. That will have to wait until at least 2022.
Canceling All-Star festivities hosted by the Florida Panthers was anticipated, along with forgoing the five-day “bye” week each team had gotten in recent years on either side of that break. The schedule is expected to be condensed in order to get in as many games as possible and stage a full 16-team playoff without going too deep into the summer.