This afternoon, the NHL released a statement via their social media channels that the league has postponed both the 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend.
If you’re a fan of the NHL’s annual New Year’s Day outdoor game or the All-Star Weekend that follows shortly after, then today’s postponement news is another punch to the gut courtesy of what has felt like the longest year imaginable. In regards to the Winter Classic and ASG being pushed back, the NHL released the following statement.
The National Hockey League today announced the postponements of the 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic and 2021 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.
The 2021 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, featuring the Minnesota Wild facing the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., was originally scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021. The Florida Panthers were to host the 2021 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., originally scheduled for Jan. 29-30, 2021. Both events have been postponed due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from the coronavirus. The League intends to return to both Minnesota and Florida for these signature events in the near future.
“Fan participation, both in arenas and stadiums as well as in the ancillary venues and events that we stage around the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, is integral to the success of our signature events,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer. “Because of the uncertainty as to when we will be able to welcome our fans back to our games, we felt that the prudent decision at this time was to postpone these celebrations until 2022 when our fans should be able to enjoy and celebrate these tentpole events in-person, as they were always intended. We are also considering several new and creative events that will allow our fans to engage with our games and teams during this upcoming season.”
Today’s announcement does not impact the joint declaration by the NHL and National Hockey League Players’ Association on Oct. 6 that we are targeting on or around Jan. 1 as the start date for the upcoming NHL season.
In what is likely a surprise to no one, the NHL made the predictable announcement that they would be postponing both events as a result of COVID-19 and the decision makes perfect sense considering both items would be meaningless without fans in the stands. The good news, however, is that the league and players are still committed to January 1st as the date for the start of the new season, but it will be incredibly interesting to watch how these next couple of months go in terms of actually getting us there. As always, all we can do is wait.
Thanks, COVID, I hate it.