When Does Hockey Season Start?
It has not been that long since Tampa Bay Lightning’s dramatic Stanley Cup win, and we are excited for the 2022 National Hockey League (NHL) season. Lightning’s center Ross Colton put through the winning goal for the Florida side to defeat the Montreal Canadians 1-0 in the fifth match of the series, claiming their second consecutive title. It was a captivating end to a very turbulent year, due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have been missing your hockey fix during this off-season, you may be asking, “When does the next hockey season start?” Well, the 2021 to 2022 season will be ending in April, which means the 2022 to 2023 season should begin sometime in October.
So, when does hockey season start? The National Hockey League started the regular season on October 12, 2021, with a view to complete the six-month season and Stanley Cup Playoffs by the end of April. With COVID-19 restrictions easing around the country, we are anticipating the upcoming season to take a much more normal look compared to last year, with full-capacity crowds in attendance at most events. But of course, that is all pandemic-permitting.
However, there have been a couple of changes to this season, including some new faces.
New Faces, Season Structure and Stadiums
Kicking off in October, the NHL has hosted 82 regular-season games, and there have been juicy matches in this year’s first round of fixtures.
Canadian hockey fans eagerly anticipated the start of the season with a huge clash between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens kicking off the opening weekend of the regular season. That same weekend, new faces on the block, Seattle Kraken, played their first-ever professional NHL match against the Vegas Golden Knights since becoming a franchise side this season.
With the Seattle Kraken joining the NHL as a brand-new franchise this year, the league expanded to 32 teams, playing across four conferences.
But before the league started, pre-season games commenced around the first or second week of September, with each team playing several exhibition matches to prepare their squad for the season.
After that, the regular season commenced, and teams started by playing against other teams in their division. Approximately 26 divisional games were played before teams traveled further afield to play another 24 non-divisional games within their conference. They then played another 32 matches against teams in their adjacent conference, both at home and away. Annually, the NHL hosts approximately a whopping 1,312 matches across both conferences.
How The Matches Are Played Throughout the Season
- Divisional: each team plays five opponents four times and will also play two opponents three times. The total number of games is 26.
- Within conference, non-divisional: each team plays eight different opponents three times. The total number of games is 24.
- Inter conference: each team plays six opponents from the opposite conference two times, with the total number of games equaling 32.
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Once the regular season is complete, 16 teams will qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which operates in a best-of-seven series. The top three teams in each division earn automatic qualification to the playoffs. The next two teams in the conference earn wildcard places.
The top-ranked side in each conference will play the bottom wildcard, while the second place will play the second-from-the-bottom wildcard. After that, second and third-placed sides in each division will play against each other, while the winners will advance to the central division final.
The winners of that match will then advance to the conference final, and lastly, the Stanley Cup Final.
Last Season’s Results
Last season, wildcard Montreal defeated Toronto, Winnipeg and Vegas to make the Stanley Cup Finals. However, after a dramatic season coming from the bottom rung on the playoff ladder, they were beaten by Tampa Bay, four games to one in the finals.
The 2021 finals series was shared at Tampa’s Amalie Arena and Montreal’s Bell Centre — two of the biggest and best stadiums in the league to catch a game at.
After their win this season, Tampa Bay’s celebrations went off outside the Amalie Arena, which houses 19,902 spectators. Also known as the Ice Palace, the arena has been their home since 1996. It is a perfect away trip for any inter-state NHL fans. With Florida’s year-round summer sunshine, entertainment attractions and space coast on your doorstep, it is certainly one of our places to go and watch hockey.
But at the top of the list comes Toronto’s Bell Centre — the largest stadium in the NHL, hosting 21,302 spectators. It houses one of the best atmospheres in the league, despite the Montreal Canadiens having yet to win a Stanley Cup Final at the venue. So, if you are looking to watch a Montreal game, make sure you book your tickets in advance, as they sell out nearly every week!
How Much Do NHL Tickets Cost?
Getting hold of NHL tickets can sometimes be a nightmare, especially if you are trying to source tickets for the Stanley Cup or the playoffs. Tickets can either be costly or in high demand. However, we recommend you buy your tickets online, as it is simpler and more efficient.
Depending on the seats, teams playing and importance of the match, you can expect to pay on average between $70 and $120 for a standard adult ticket for a regular-season game. While an average playoff game could set you back around $300, Stanley Cup Finals tickets have reportedly set fans back nearly $2,500 in the past as they are that sought after.
The most expensive team to get tickets for is the Toronto Maple Leafs — one of the most popular teams in the franchise. Some tickets cost upwards of $332 on secondary markets.
Where to Buy NHL Tickets
The best and most secure place to get your tickets is TicketMaster. Unlike other sites, TicketMaster is the NHL’s official ticket merchant. It offers comprehensive refund policies if the match is canceled, which is something fans will want to consider as we emerge from the pandemic.
This season also saw the return of the NHL Stadium Series, where regular-season outdoor games were played in stadiums around the country. The stadium series were held in February and costed anywhere between $155 and $231.
What If You Have a Ticket and Can't Attend?
There are countless sites where fans can buy and sell resale tickets to real fans wanting to attend the game. StubHub is one of the most secure ticketing resale sites where you can offload tickets to real fans. You can also use SeatGeek’s comparative pricing service to find the lowest-priced seats in the house.
For the most reliable ticket resale service, check out TicketMaster’s NHL Ticket Exchange, where you can buy and sell tickets at face value prices.
Ultimately, the best way to stay in the know about how to source tickets is to keep up-to-date with your team’s fanbase. So, get onto online forums, Reddit feeds and Twitter channels for your Hockey team, and keep your ears to the ground for upcoming ticket releases and cheap sales.