NHL confirms 48-game schedule, start date still up in the air

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The question of whether the new NHL season will be 48 or 50 games has an answer.

It’ll be 48.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reports the league sent out a memo to teams saying there will be a 48-game regular season set to begin on January 19. There is some debate on that second point, however.

ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun says if the new CBA is ratified quickly, a start date of January 15 isn’t out of the question. (He notes the aforementioned league memo says Jan. 19 is “most probable.”)

It’s really a matter of how soon teams and players want to get back to putting fans in the seats and making money, while also making sure the paperwork reflects what they agreed to.

When it comes to training camps opening up, Friedman reports that won’t happen until Saturday, January 12 — at the earliest. Once the new deal is ratified, players will be allowed access to team facilities again.