Why the NHL will move to an 84 game season.

Some think an 84 game season does not make sense. Some would say “The players play enough as it is”, “82 games is a lot”, “What do the players think”. It seems though that an 84 game season would actually benefit the players, the league, and the fans. Here’s why.

If the league moves to 84 games the players would actually play LESS games, how you ask? Right now the NHL teams play nine pre-season games, and 82 regular season games. Players feel that with training camp and pre-season the lead up to regular season play is much to long. If the NHL moves to an 84 game season they would drop four of the pre-season games and add two regular season games. So if you include pre-season games and regular season games the players will actually play two less games overall. How does this help the league?

With more games, and an earlier start to the season, the league will be able to be more creative with scheduling which will allow one more home game per team. This is not the only benefit to the league. With 30 teams playing an extra two games that means 60 more regular season games being played overall. In the words of NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly ” The NHL makes more off of two regular season games than four pre-season games”

How does this benefit the players?

The players will have a shorter training camp, less pre-season games, and an earlier start to the season and likely a slight increase in salary. Also the fans will benefit from seeing an earlier start to regular season play.

When will the 84 game season begin?

If it happens it will likely take place in 2011. It is too late to implement a new schedule and longer season for the 2009 season and 2010 is when the winter olympics will take place so it is not likely the NHL will complicate things further with a new schedule. This makes 2011 the most likely year for the NHL to start an 84 game season.