After nearly losing the entire season to the lockout between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association, teams will reportedly open training camp no later than Sunday, Jan. 13, according to Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean:
In an email, Bill Daly says: "We are currently hoping to be in a position to open Training Camps by no later than Sunday, January 13."— JoshuaCooper (@JoshuaCooper) January 8, 2013
And the goal is still regular season on Jan. 19— JoshuaCooper (@JoshuaCooper) January 8, 2013
The lockout ruined much of the regular season, but the league has a backup plan for a shortened 48-game schedule (h/t Elliotte Friedman) and is ready to move on the idea.
It’s almost time for the return of hockey!
What It Means
There is plenty of work that must be done by the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association to ratify the collective bargaining agreement, but the fact that both sides are making these plans now means everything is on the right track.
Both sides will hammer out the details, and the training camps will usher in the beginning of the 2013 season. How anti-climatic.
With the NHL comes the flurry of trade rumors that follow the league every season, and while the constant false reports can be annoying, the lack of hockey chatter during the lockout was too much to bear.
Many of the players in the league spent the beginning of what would have been the NHL season overseas in professional leagues, so these stars will begin to return to North America immediately.
Other players continued to work out on their own and not play professionally, and there will be major questions about which teams return in shape and how much injuries sustained overseas will hurt teams.
With so little time between the start of training camp and the shortened-season opener, the flurry of activity will be overwhelming for even the biggest hockey fans.