According to the Associated Press, the NHL season will not start January 1, The league and NHL Players’ Association are now focusing on opening play in mid-January.

The Mid-January start date is more realistic due to the many issues that need to be resolved before players can begin traveling to their home cities.

The NHL and NHLPA still need to agree on a schedule, with the current plan having between 52 and 56 regular-season games. There has also been talk of a cushion being worked into the schedule in the event games are postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The AP. “various similar concepts are being discussed” when asked about the 52- or 56-game schedule and mid-January start.

Also needing to be resolved is a one-time divisional realignment, with a seven-team all-Canada division due to cross-border travel restrictions, as well as an updated COVID-19 protocol for players and teams.