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NHL drops puck on new season with Canucks heading to Alberta

Last Updated Jan 13, 2021 at 5:52 am PDT

FILE - Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat (53), Tanner Pearson (70) and Zack MacEwen (71) celebrate a goal against the Minnesota Wild during first period NHL qualifying round game action in Edmonton, on Friday August 7, 2020. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The NHL drops the puck on a new season Wednesday afternoon

The NHL has had the chance to look at how other leagues are playing through the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The NHL returns Wednesday afternoon with a new season that will see the league and its players faced with challenges amid the pandemic until the Stanley Cup is awarded.

There will be few fans in the wintertime return of the NHL in an all-Canadian division, as well as ample COVID-19 tests.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has had time to examine how the NFL, NBA and the MLB have been carrying out games through the pandemic, but a delay or two is expected.

It’s already happened for the Dallas Stars. The team can’t start their season until next week after 17 players tested positive for COVID-19.

Bettman has said he expects the league to lost billions of dollars this season. Out of the league’s 31 teams, only Arizona, Dallas, and Florida will allow fans in their buildings.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk announced his “robust” plan to allow up to 6,000 fans per game in his building Tuesday, but quickly backtracked as his tweet coincided with Ontario issuing a stay at home order.

Canucks head to Alberta, without leading scorer

The Canucks open their all-Canadian campaign Wednesday night in Edmonton as the NHL starts a brand new 56-game season.

But the Canucks won’t have last season’s leading scorer, J.T. Miller, for their four-game Alberta road trip.

General manager Jim Benning told Sportsnet 650 Tuesday that Miller and veteran depth defenceman Jordie Benn “aren’t available” for the Canucks’ doubleheaders in Edmonton and Calgary.

Benning said more information would be available later in the day.

Meanwhile, despite delays, the NFL finds itself two found of playoffs away from the Super Bowl.

-with files from Sportsnet 650