Bettman: Next NHL season could start in December or January

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Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders players shake hands after the Lightning won in overtime of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Eastern Conference final, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Edmonton, Alberta.

AP

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday he wouldn’t be surprised if the next NHL season begins after the tentatively planned Dec. 1 start date.

In his annual pre-Stanley Cup Final news conference, Bettman said Saturday there is still too much uncertainty to know what that season will look like. He wouldn’t address speculation about an all-Canadian division given the U.S.-Canada border closure to nonessential travel.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the focus would remain on the safety for players, coaches, staff and fans.

“If there’s an option to consider, believe me, we’re considering it,” Bettman said.

The league has repeatedly said opening training camps Nov. 17 and beginning the season Dec. 1

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