According to multiple reports, the 2012-13 NHL schedule will be released Thursday June 21st.
Considering the Stanley Cup Playoffs just ended and tonight is the NHL Awards event in Las Vegas, it seems a bit soon to already have next year’s schedule released. However, fans are already anxious for next season as the excitement of the NHL playoffs will do that to you!
There are a few key dates that fans are looking forward to. First would be opening night for their favorite team, and in particular the fans of the Los Angeles Kings will be fighting hard for opening night tickets to see the raising of the first Stanley Cup banner in the team’s history.
Next up would be the January 1st Winter Classic which is going to be the biggest one yet. The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs in one of the most memorable Original Six matchups you’ll ever find – at Michigan Stadium (“The Big House”) in Ann Arbor in front of 100,000+ fans. To spice things up even further, recently it has been announced that alcohol WILL be served (it is not served during college games at Michigan Stadium) so that should bring smiles to some faces in the crowd for sure.
The next event is the NHL All Star Game in Columbus, Ohio. This could be a real sleeper. While Columbus is not exactly the first city you think of when you think hockey, fans of the Blue Jackets support their team through thick and thin and deserve some league-wide attention. Also with this superstar captain Rick Nash expected to be traded ahead of time, the prospect of him returning to Columbus representing a different team as an NHL All-Star is something that could provide some extra excitement to the event. Will the fans jeer him or cheer him?
After that there is speculation of another NHL Heritage Classic. Just like the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic is an outdoor game played in Canada, between two Canadian cities. The early rumors were Winnipeg between the Jets and possibly the Montreal Canadiens but it is purely speculation at this point as nothing official has been announced.
The last date on the calendar fans will be interested in will be the NHL Trade Deadline. Although there isn’t as much trade activity as there used to be, mostly due to an earlier trade deadline than in past years, the salary cap complications and parity throughout the league, the trade deadline is so exciting it is treated as a holiday by some fans. There were reports all across twitter of fans taking the day off from work to follow the trades — now that is dedication!
Whatever team you cheer for or city you live in, tomorrow is the first step in looking forward to the 2012-13 NHL season.