The MLB, NHL and NBA have all returned safely and played out their seasons and are now back in their off-seasons. But the question on everyone’s mind is, when will these sports come back, as the pandemic threw them off their schedules off, and technically the NBA and the NHL should be into their next seasons at this point. Well, we at Javelin Sports have researched for you and will outline in this blog each of the league’s plans to go back and any rumours about the situation.
According to official reports, the NBAPA has agreed to a proposal from the NBA that would have the season begin on December 22, 2020. It would have them play a 72 game regular season, with the hope of finishing the season before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This decision is not universally loved by NBA players, as NBA star and this year’s Finals MVP has expressed his displeasure in such a quick turnaround. From the finals’ last game to the proposed first day of the next season, only 72 days are separating them. Something that needs to be taken into account is the eight teams that have not played since the NBA postponed their season in March. Those teams would be playing for the first time in 290 days.
One central question that remains unanswered is where the lone Canadian team, Toronto Raptors, will play if the Canadian Government does not permit travel between the two countries? What has been proposed is similar to what the MLB did with the Toronto Blue Jays, and have them take up a temporary residency in an American city while the borders are still closed with the COVID-19 pandemic. Several places have been proposed, like Newark, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Nashville, but the team, league or Canadian Government have not made a formal announcement.
The NHL or the NHLPA has made no official announcement, but the target date floating around as a possible start of the season is January 1st, 2021. But others are thinking it may start as late as February. There are projections that the season will have anywhere from >65 games to as little as 48.
Like in the NBA, there are a few issues surrounding travel between Canada and the United States. But unlike the NBA, there are seven NHL teams based in Canada, while the NBA only has one. This fact has resulted in rumours of a Canada only division to avoid crossing the border and avoid crossing the border until necessary in the playoffs. We are still waiting for an official announcement. Also, no news surrounding training camps have even been released.
The MLB, the league with the latest start date from now out of the three leagues discussed in this article, has already released a plan for when spring training will begin. They set a date for February 27, 2021, the typical start time with past years. The MLB can start on schedule because they also finished on time, while both the NBA and the NHL both ended their seasons at the time where they would typically be starting.
If things do not get better, and the borders do not open by the end of February, the MLB will probably have the Toronto Blue Jays play in the same stadium in Buffalo they did last year to avoid any complications.