NHL Hockey Season Start: Key Dates and Expectations for 2023/2024

NHL Hockey Season Start: Key Dates and Expectations for 2023/2024

The National Hockey League (NHL) showcases the best talent in professional ice hockey, offering exhilarating matches and intense rivalries for fans to enjoy. Season after season, established teams such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Vancouver Canucks, among others, continually demonstrate their prowess and skill on the ice. Newcomers, like the Seattle Kraken, raise the level of excitement and competition in the league.

Notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 on the sports world, NHL teams have adapted to ensure the safety and well-being of their players and fans. The league is divided into divisions and conferences, fostering thrilling matchups and passionate duels as teams vie for the ultimate prize – the Stanley Cup. With coverage provided by outlets such as ESPN, Sportsnet, and TNT, fans from North America and beyond can stay updated on their favourite teams and players throughout the season.

When Does The NHL Season Start 2023-24? Regular Season And Playoffs Date Revealed

The 2023-24 NHL season is set to commence on October 10, 2023, and will run until April 18, 2024. Enthusiastic fans can expect the highly anticipated NHL playoffs to take place around June 2024.

The National Hockey League has a remarkable history that spans over a century since its inception in 1917. With an incredibly dedicated fanbase and fierce competition between its teams, the league enjoys a distinguished reputation compared to its counterparts.

Every new season is marked by rising hopes among both the players and their fans. As players aspire to hone their skills and set new records, fans eagerly anticipate the remarkable achievements, match-ups, and events that each season brings.

Notable events throughout the 2023-24 season include the Winter Classic, Stadium Series, and the NHL Global Series, which bring excitement to fans worldwide. Additionally, the NHL All-Star Game showcases the best of the league’s talent in an exhilarating match.

As the 2023-24 NHL season approaches, fans are already busy planning their schedules to catch their favourite teams and players in action.

NHL Preseason 2023-24

The NHL Preseason 2023-24 is slated to commence on September 23, 2023, marking a historic event as the league holds its preseason in Australia for the first time ever. The Arizona Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings are scheduled to kick off the games in Melbourne.

With its primary purpose being to prepare players for the regular season, the preseason serves as an excellent platform for newcomers to earn a spot on the team roster and for established players to hone their skills. An image from an Oilers preseason game on October 1, 2022 showcases their striking uniform.

In addition, coaches benefit from the extra evaluation time for their teams, as well as the chance to develop and test new strategies that could prove useful during the regular season.

Each NHL team takes part in approximately six to eight exhibition matches, which may be hosted in NHL arenas or alternative venues. Although the outcomes, goals, assists, and other statistics from these early games are not recorded, suspensions are still enforced.

How Long Does the NHL Season Last?

The NHL season spans across nine months, separated into three main segments: preseason, regular season, and playoffs (or postseason).

  1. Preseason: Lasting from September to October, this phase serves as a warm-up for the teams, spanning over two to three weeks.
  2. Regular Season: Commencing in late October or early November and continuing until April, this is the primary competition phase for the teams. In the 2023-24 season, the regular season will kick off on November 16th, 2023, with the Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators competing in the first round in Sweden. The Minnesota Wild and the Toronto Maple Leafs will also face off in two matches at the Avicii Arena in Stockholm before returning to compete in NHL arenas in the USA.
  3. Playoffs (Postseason): Starting in April and concluding in June, this stage determines the final winner of the season. After this, the off-season commences.

The off-season, which falls between the playoffs’ ending and the preseason’s beginning, holds great significance for teams and players alike, as it is the time for strategy development and crucial decision-making.

How Many Games in NHL Season Per Team?

Each NHL team participates in 82 games during the regular season, with 41 home games and 41 away games. These matches are carefully planned to ensure that every team competes against one another twice and plays in all NHL arenas.

The 2023-23 regular season will kick off with a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators, taking place in Sweden, far from their home arenas.

  • 82 games per team: 41 home and 41 away
  • All teams play against each other twice

During the regular season, there’s a “bye week” for player rest, coinciding with the annual NHL All-Star Game. This event serves to generate additional revenue and provide entertainment for fans.

The NHL also incorporates a three-day break around Christmas and intentionally avoids scheduling games on the night of the Super Bowl.

How Many Rounds are in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

First Round

The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin with 16 teams, 8 from the Eastern Conference and 8 from the Western Conference. These teams face off based on their regular-season standings, with the highest-ranked teams playing the lowest-ranked teams. The winners, 4 from each conference, move on to the next round.

Second Round

In this round, the advancing teams are re-seeded according to their regular-season performance. They are paired in a similar fashion, and the successful teams (2 from each conference) proceed to the third round.

Conference Finals

The third round, also known as the Conference Finals, is a tough battle as it features only two teams per conference. Both teams compete intensely with their eyes on the ultimate prize: the Stanley Cup Finals.

Stanley Cup Finals

This is the final round that determines which team will lift the Stanley Cup. The winners from the Eastern and Western Conferences face off on the ice, and the first team to secure four victories earns the prestigious title.

2023 Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket and Results

The 2023 NHL playoffs have reached the Conference Finals, with the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Vegas Golden Knights as the final four contenders.

The initial lineup for the 2023 playoff games included:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Florida Panthers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • New York Islanders
  • New Jersey Devils
  • New York Rangers
  • Colorado Avalanche
  • Seattle Kraken
  • Dallas Stars
  • Minnesota Wild
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Winnipeg Jets
  • Edmonton Oilers
  • Los Angeles Kings

The following teams won the First Round and advanced to the Second Round:

  • Florida Panthers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Seattle Kraken
  • Dallas Stars
  • Vegas Golden Knights
  • Edmonton Oilers

The teams that emerged victorious in the Second Round are:

  • Florida Panthers
  • Carolina Hurricanes
  • Dallas Stars
  • Vegas Golden Knights

These four remaining teams will compete in the Conference Finals for the chance to fight for the Stanley Cup in the final round.

How Long Has The Stanley Cup Been In Existence?

The Stanley Cup has a history spanning over 130 years, making it the most venerable trophy in existence. It was named in honour of Frederick Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston, who was also the Governor General of Canada at the time. He, along with his family, were avid ice hockey enthusiasts which led to him bestowing the cup for the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup in 1892.

The inaugural recipients of this prestigious award were the Montreal Hockey Club. By 1906, it became possible for professional teams to compete for the trophy as well. A noteworthy agreement was reached in 1915 between the National Hockey Association and Pacific Coast Hockey Association, wherein the respective champions would face off each year for the Stanley Cup.

Since 1926, the National Hockey League has claimed the Stanley Cup as its championship trophy. This arrangement is made possible by an accord with the Canadian trustees who oversee the trophy. In the past, victorious teams held onto the Cup until a new winner emerged, but now they can only keep it during the summer months and a few additional days throughout the season.

How Long Has It Been Since A Canadian Team Won The Stanley Cup?

Almost two decades have passed since a Canadian team last claimed the prestigious Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens brought the trophy home in 1993, but since then, no other Canadian team has managed to win the championship.

Over the past 20 years, several Canadian teams reached the finals but ultimately fell short. Notably, the Vancouver Canucks were defeated by the New York Rangers in 1994. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Ottawa Senators also came close to taking the coveted prize.

In the 2021 season, the Montreal Canadiens got to the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Tampa Bay Lightning emerged as the victors. The 2022-23 season saw no Canadian teams competing in the finals.

As the birthplace of modern hockey, Canada’s consistent lack of success in the playoffs leaves fans eager for a turnaround. There is hope that Canadian teams will come back stronger and more prepared in the upcoming postseason.

When The Hockey Season Concludes

End of Hockey Season 2023

The hockey season typically comes to a close in July, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs wrap up. Following the regular season’s conclusion, the offseason begins. This period allows players to unwind and recuperate from the physically demanding sport of ice hockey.

Additionally, the offseason plays host to several essential events and activities. For instance, the NHL Entry Draft takes place in the early stages of the offseason, during which teams select promising amateur athletes and professional players from European leagues.

Teams also conduct development and training camps to evaluate players’ skills and improve their performance. They sign undrafted free agents or players with expired contracts and negotiate deals with players or renew contracts with current team members. Once the entry draft concludes, teams can participate in player trades and transfers.

In 2023, the NHL regular season ended on April 13, with the season running from October to mid-April.