NHL: Canadian teams able to start season in home arenas

League also released its COVID-related protocols
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Posted at 7:40 PM, Dec 24, 2020

TORONTO (AP) — The NHL believes all seven Canadian teams will be able to start the season playing in their home arenas.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday the league believes it is clear to play in Canada during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after discussions with the five provincial governments with NHL teams to try to gain approval to start Jan. 13.

The NHL realigned its divisions for the season so that the North Division — which features all seven Canadian teams — would not have to cross the U.S.-Canada border, which remains closed to non-essential travel until at least Jan. 21.

The league released its schedule Wednesday, with each team playing 56 games instead of the usual 82.

On Tuesday, the league released its coronavirus-related protocols, which include coaches must wear masks at all times while behind the bench, owners can't have face-to-face meetings with players, and teams can only travel with up to 50 people, according to the Associated Press.

The AP also reported that the league had asked the players not to go to restaurants, bars, and clubs and not have outside guests at their homes.