NHL timeline of events since pause of 2019-20 season due to COVID-19


Following is an overview of the past 473 days: 

  • Supporting Community: The NHL and its Clubs have contributed and raised millions of dollars for our communities for many causes during the pandemic.
  • On the Ice: The NHL has staged 1,077 games over the last 11 months, from Aug. 1, 2020, through the 2021 Stanley Cup Semifinals.


  • COVID-19 Impact:
  • o Total number of COVID tests administrated to Players and staff: 350,000+
  • o Total number of team shutdowns: 12
  • o Total number of games postponed: 55
  • o Total number of games rescheduled: 132 
  • o Total number of Players on COVID list: 217
  • o Total number of Players with confirmed positives: 119
  • o Highest single-day total on COVID list: 59 (Feb. 12)
  • o Lowest single-day total on COVID list: 0 (first achieved on May 24 – 132 days after season start)
  • o COVID Protocols: 12 COVID Protocols adopted for 2020-21 season with more than two dozen updates/enhancements since Jan. 13


  • Back to Business: Despite the pandemic, the League successfully negotiated a four-year CBA extension, two new U.S. media rights deals (ESPN & Turner), and 12 new or renewed international broadcast agreements covering more than 100 countries/territories; signed 17 new corporate partners and nine corporate partner renewals; and designed new branding assets for Clubs.


  • Diversity & Inclusion: The NHL has engaged in several efforts to improve and promote diversity and inclusion across the League and at the grassroots level, including:
  • o Principles of inclusion learning experience for active Players
  • o Co-developing inclusion-based tools, trainings and resources for youth hockey players and parents
  • o Building programs to hire and develop diverse talent
  • o Re-establishing a fan code of conduct
  • o Launching a multicultural marketing unit
  • o Investing $5 million over the next 18 months 

More information about the events since the 2019-20 pause can be found in the attached timeline.



March 12, 2020: NHL pauses 2019-20 season.

March 16, 2020: League issues first in a series of protocols: i) Players permitted to return to off-season homes; ii) self-quarantine period for Players, Coaches and Hockey Staff extended through March 27; iii) at the end of the self-quarantine period, and depending on world developments between now and then, consideration will be given to allowing the opening of Club facilities to Players in scheduled and coordinated small groups for voluntary training and care of the Players on the same basis as in the off-season.

March 17, 2020: Ottawa Senators are first team to announce a positive player test.

March 19, 2020: League announces plan to provide fans with content during Pause.

March 25, 2020: League postpones 2020 Scouting Combine, Awards and Draft.

March 27, 2020: Self-quarantine period extended through April 15.

April 8, 2020: 2019 Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues virtually reunited.

April 8, 2020: Central Scouting releases 2020 Final Rankings.

April 14, 2020: Self-quarantine period extended through April 30.

April 29, 2020: First meeting of NHL/NHLPA Return To Play Committee – targets mid-to-later portion of May to move to Phase 2. 

May 8, 2020: League announces postponement of 2020-21 international games.

May 26, 2020: League announces its Return To Play Plan for the 2019-20 season – 24 teams return to play in two “hub” cities beginning in the summer. Plan includes an outline for the return of NHL players to their Club training facilities (Phase 2) and formal training camp (Phase 3), as well as information regarding the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.

June 4, 2020: League announces additional Return To Play details, including playoff series lengths, seeding format, round-robin tiebreaker and home-ice designation.

June 8, 2020: League transitions to Phase 2 of the Return To Play Plan.

June 11, 2020: League announces formal training camps (Phase 3) conditionally to open July 10 (later set at July 13).

June 26, 2020: League conducts Phase 1 Draft Lottery.

July 6, 2020: League announces tentative agreement with NHLPA on Return To Play Plan, CBA extension; sets dates for resumption of play (Phase 3, July 13; travel to hubs, July 26; Qualifying round start, Aug. 1); extensive health protocols for Phase 3 and Phase 4.

July 10, 2020: NHL, NHLPA ratify CBA extension and Return To Play Plan. Edmonton, Toronto selected as hub cities.

July 13, 2020: League announces Phase 2 testing results: more than 600 Players report to Club training/practice facilities for optional participation in Phase 2 activities with 4,934 COVID-19 tests administered to this group of Players – 30 confirmed positive test results for COVID-19. Thirteen additional Players tested positive for COVID-19 outside of the Phase 2 Protocol.

July 23, 2020: Seattle, the League’s 32nd franchise, revealed the name Kraken.

July 27, 2020: League announces Phase 3 testing results – During the two-week period of Phase 3 (training camp) there were a total of two positive tests (both occurred during the period from July 13-17) among the 6,874 total tests.

July 29, 2020: League announces partnership with Little Caesars.

July 30, 2020: League announces partnership with Nestlé Canada.

July 30, 2020: League, NHLPA, Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada launch a Hockey Equipment Relief Program to help families financially impacted by COVID-19 get their kids back on the ice.

July 31, 2020: League announces playoff partnership with Roman.

Aug. 1, 2020: Qualifying Round play begins, marked by Matt Dumba pregame speech in Edmonton.

Aug. 10, 2020: League conducts Phase 2 of NHL Draft Lottery (won by NYR).

Aug. 11, 2020: First Round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs opens.

Aug. 15, 2020: Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador, crowned Kraft Hockeyville 2020.

Aug. 19, 2020: League announces partnership with Fastenal.

Aug. 22, 2020: Second Round opens.

Aug. 27, 2020: Players announce decision not to play on Aug. 27-28 to support anti-racism.

Aug. 30, 2020: El Paso, Texas, named Kraft Hockeyville USA 2020.

Sept. 3, 2020: NHL announces initiatives to combat racism and accelerate its inclusion efforts.

Sept. 6, 2020: Conference Finals open.

Sept. 19, 2020: Stanley Cup Final opens.

Sept. 22, 2020: League announces partnership with I.B. Storey Inc. to support community rinks across North America.

Sept. 24, 2020: League announces health and safety protocols for off-season training.

Sept. 25, 2020: League announces partnership with Verizon.

Sept. 28, 2020: Tampa Bay Lightning crowned 2020 Stanley Cup champion.

Sept. 29, 2020: League announces zero positive results in 33,394 COVID-19 tests administered to 52-member Club traveling staff, including Players, during Phase 4 (July 26 – Sept. 28).

Oct. 6, 2020: League announces Jan. 11 as target date for 2020-21 season.

Oct. 6-7, 2020: 2020 NHL Draft.

Oct. 9, 2020: NHL free agency begins.

Oct. 22, 2020: League postpones Winter Classic (Minnesota), All-Star Weekend (Florida).

Oct. 23, 2020: League partners with American Gaming Association to promote responsible gaming.

Nov. 5, 2020: League announces partnership extension with Electronic Arts.

Nov. 5, 2020: NENT Group extends exclusive NHL broadcast rights in Nordic region.

Nov. 16, 2020: adidas and the NHL unveil ‘Reverse Retro’ alternate jerseys for all 31 teams.

Dec. 20, 2020: League announces plans for 2020-21 regular season and playoffs (56 games beginning Jan. 13 and concluding May 8).

Dec. 22, 2020: League announces partnership with Guaranteed Rate.

Dec. 22, 2020: League announces a total of 12 Return To Play medical protocols as well as transition rules and rule change for 2020-21 season.

Dec. 23, 2020: League announces 2020-21 schedule, postpones Stadium Series (Carolina).

Jan. 5, 2021: League partners with Discover, Honda, MassMutual and Scotiabank on division names for 2020-21 season.

Jan. 8, 2021: League announces closure of Dallas Stars training facilities and delay to their start of the season.

Jan. 11, 2021: League announces plans for Lake Tahoe games, Feb. 20-21.

Jan. 13, 2021: Regular season opens.

Jan. 13, 2021: League begins to announce (5 p.m. ET daily) players unavailable due to COVID protocol.

Jan. 13, 2021: Amazon Prime Video announces Amazon Original Sports Docuseries “All or Nothing: Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Jan. 19, 2021: League announces partnership with SkipTheDishes.

Jan. 20, 2021: League fines Washington Capitals $100,000 for violating COVID protocols.

Jan. 21, 2021: League announces partnership with Tipsport.

Feb. 1, 2021: NHL and NHLPA celebrate Black History Month.

Feb. 4, 2021: League announces enhanced protocols (remove bench shielding; limit time at arena; physical distancing in team spaces; air filtration and air cleaning).

Feb. 9, 2021: League announces partnership with PointsBet.

Feb. 10, 2021: League announces partnership with AWS.

Feb. 11, 2021: League announces enhanced COVID-19 protocols (POC testing; work/home quarantine; KN95 masks; reduced interaction between players; transmission investigation and quarantine, genomic sequencing).

Feb. 18, 2021: League announces partnership with Bally’s Corporation.

Feb. 24, 2021: League and DreamHack Sports Games to expand global esports presence.

March 4, 2021: Jama Cardiology publishes study on the effects of COVID-19 on pro athletes following joint collaboration with NHL and other North American pro sports leagues.

March 8, 2021: League announces plans to recognize more than 200 women from across the hockey community, on and off the ice, in honor of International Women’s Day and Gender Equality Month, a Hockey Is For Everyone initiative.

March 10, 2021: The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and the NHL announce a seven-year television, streaming and media rights deal.

March 23, 2021: League announces changes to Draft Lottery format.

March 24, 2021: League announces partnership with Signify.

March 25, 2021: League announces a multi-year extension with Setanta Sports Group.

April 10, 2021: League announces Elsipogtog First Nation as winner of Kraft Hockeyville 2021.

April 22, 2021: NHL Green commemorates Earth Day and celebrates 10-year anniversary of its Water Restoration Program.

April 27, 2021: Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia, and the League announce a multi-faceted, seven-year agreement.

April 30, 2021: Seattle Kraken complete the acquisition of their team and officially join the NHL.

May 3, 2021: For the first time, the League announces plans to celebrate Asian & Pacific Islander Heritage Month as part of its annual Hockey Is For Everyone campaign.

May 3, 2021: League announces partnership with Olive.

May 6, 2021: League announces partnership with the Clorox Company.

May 8, 2021: League announces several modifications to their COVID-19 Protocols to take effect upon the conclusion of each Club’s regular-season schedule.

May 13, 2021: League and HyperX partner on 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship.

May 14, 2021: League announces partnership with Betway.

May 26, 2021: League announces partnership with Shavelogic.

May 28, 2021: COVID-19 Protocols update issued effective beginning with Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs regarding: (1) face coverings for spectators and; (2) reinstallation of plexiglass shielding behind both the home and visitor teams’ penalty boxes, as well as behind team benches for Fully-Vaccinated Clubs.

June 1, 2021: League announces plans to celebrate Pride Month as part of their joint Hockey Is For Everyone year-round initiative.

June 2, 2021: 2021 Draft Lottery takes place (Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken own the first and second overall drafting positions, respectively).

June 3, 2021: League announces partnership with OlyBet.

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