Toronto Maple Leafs are officially in the North Division and here's what fans think
The 2020-21 NHL season has finally been confirmed and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a part of the new North Division.
"The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion," said NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman.
This comes after the NHL and National Hockey League's Player Association reached an agreement to play a 56-game season which will begin January 13, 2021.
This season, however, will look a bit different than before. Due to the pandemic's border restrictions, the NHL has decided to create a new all-Canadian North division. It's made up of the seven franchises above the 49th parallel, the border that divides Canada and the United States.
I would’ve called it the great white north division but ok.— Cameron Chapman (@cameronchapman) December 21, 2020
The Toronto Maple Leafs have been placed in the North Division, along with the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks to name a few.
The way the divisions are set up ensures that a Canadian team will be in the final four this year.
The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs, following two more rounds of divisional play. Then the four division champions will be in the running for the Stanley Cup.
This plan hopes to minimize team travel as much as possible. "It is the current plan to play games in the home arenas of participating teams while understanding that most arenas will not, at least in the initial part of the season, be able to host fans," announced the League.
After having to wait for the NHL and NHLPA to come to an agreement, fans finally get to look forward to a hockey season next year, and they are excited to say the least.
Many Canadian fans are thrilled about the decision to have an all-Canadian division. The rivalry between provinces has already begun on Twitter, with Toronto Maple Leaf fans making their bets.
Toronto Maple Leafs NORTH DIVISION CHAMPIONS . oh its beautiful— -- (@loreti29) December 20, 2020
However, the threat of COVID-19 and new restrictions is still very real. With the uncertainty surrounding new lockdowns, along with an already shortened season, some fans are concerned about how it will play out.
Might as well set up bubble in EDM for all teams in the #NHL "North" division to play. Provincial governments either too restrictive/different in their policies to allow NHL to play in some arenas.— Don Clark (@TML__fan) December 21, 2020
Difficult to get excited about shortened NHL season with so much uncertainty.
Who is going to win the Stanley Cup isn't the only thing people are debating. There have been quite a few Canadian fans upset that the all-Canadian division was named "North" and not "Canadian."
Good job by @NHL to come up with the name “north division”... just refuse to acknowledge they are Canadian teams playing the game that matters to Canadians— Ryan Hargrave (@hargy15) December 21, 2020
No matter your thoughts, it's safe to say that the 2020-21 season will be one for the books.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will start May 8 and continue into mid-July. The League says that they plan on returning to a normal hockey calendar for the 2021-22 season, which is expected to begin next October.
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