The 2015–2016 NHL season is only a few weeks in the books, but the upcoming season is already set. If you’re a professional hockey fanatic, you’ve no doubt circled your calendar for your favorite team’s games. The season gets underway Oct. 12.
The 2016–17 season will be a special and historic one, as it marks the 100th season of operation since the league was formed in 1917 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The league’s 30 teams will play 82 games apiece until the regular season ends April 9, 2017. The Stanley Cup playoffs begin afterward, culminating in the championship series, which will end in June.
Four games highlight opening night on Oct. 12: Ottawa vs. Toronto, Chicago vs. St. Louis, Edmonton vs. Calgary and San Jose vs. Los Angeles. Things heat up more the following day when nine games dot the schedule.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins begin their quest to defend their title Oct. 13 at home against the Washington Capitals. Six of the team’s first eight games will be at the friendly confines of Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Things will get tougher in November when the Penguins play nine games on the road and just five at home.
Meanwhile, Stanley Cup runners-up San Jose, which finished just third in its division but made a memorable run through the postseason, will open the new season at home against Los Angeles Oct. 12. The Sharks follow this contest with five straight games on the road.
Teams will see salary cap increases for the 2016–17 season. The league has approved the new cap at $73.1 million. There were no rule changes announced for the season, though league officials have awarded Las Vegas a franchise that will begin play in the 2017–18 campaign.
The upcoming season may still be a few months away, but it’s time to geared up. Study your team’s schedule and get ready for some excitement on the ice.