The NHL will open its 2022-23 regular season on Oct. 11 with a heavyweight double-header, featuring an Eastern Conference Finals rematch between Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers and Division clash. Pacific from Los Angeles and Vegas.
That and more was revealed Wednesday afternoon when the NHL unveiled its full schedule for the coming year.
Breaking with tradition, the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche is not on the league’s opening roster. Ball Arena had already been booked for an Oct. 11 concert, so the Avalanche will raise their Cup banner to the rafters on Oct. 12 before facing the Chicago Blackhawks.
Colorado beat the Lightning in Game 6 of the Cup Finals last month to claim their first title since 2001 and stymie Tampa Bay’s hopes of repeating a third time as league champions. These two will see each other twice a week during the regular season, on February 9 in Tampa Bay and February 14 in Colorado.
It’s right after the NHL All-Star Break from Feb. 2-5. The annual skills competition and star-studded match will take place at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida from February 3-4.
The league’s annual slate of outdoor games also continues. The Winter Classic takes place Jan. 2 between Boston and Pittsburgh at Fenway Park, and Carolina will host Washington on Feb. 18 at NC State’s Carter-Finlay Stadium in Raleigh for a Stadium Series game.
Additionally, the NHL is bringing back its World Series which will take four clubs across the pond. Nashville and San Jose will play their season openers on October 7-8 at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. Columbus and Colorado will face off in a back-to-back match at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland on Nov. 4-5.
Some other highlights on the NHL agenda:
• Montreal opens its regular season at home against Toronto on October 12, with the possibility that this year’s top pick in the Entry Draft will be dressed for action. Will it be Shane Wright at center? Juraj Slafkovsky on the wing? There’s no better time than a matchup with the Original Six to make your NHL debut.
• Arizona will play six straight road games to start the year before hosting Winnipeg on October 28 at their new — and somewhat polarizing — arena. The Coyotes are leasing space at Arizona State University, where a 5,000-seat venue is still under construction (hence the early-season away slate). Arizona had to invest millions building NHL-approved additions to ASU, and the Jets will get the first chance to test the ice — literally.
• Edmonton limped out of the playoffs after a sweep by the eventual Cup winners in their Western Conference final series. Colorado will meet the Oilers again on Jan. 7 for a Saturday night showdown destined for brawl territory.
• Licensed (or non-renewed) coaches will make their various returns to familiar barns: Bruce Cassidy brings the Golden Knights to Boston on December 5, John Tortorella takes Philadelphia to Columbus on November 10, Paul Maurice is in Winnipeg with Florida on December On Jan. 6, Peter DeBoer returns to Vegas behind the Dallas bench on Jan. 16, Rick Bowness joins the Winnipeg Jets early to face his former Stars on Oct. 17, and Jim Montgomery brings the Bruins back to Dallas on Valentine’s Day.
• There’s rivalry action for Thanksgiving weekend when Pittsburgh visits Philadelphia on Nov. 25, before another showdown that night between Tampa Bay and St. Louis.