When Does Hockey Season Start? Your Essential Guide

Hockey is a beloved sport that many fans look forward to every year. But for those who are not die-hard fans, it can be confusing to know when hockey season actually starts. Whether you are a fan of the NHL, college hockey, or junior league hockey, each league has its own start date and important events to keep in mind. Knowing when the season starts can help you plan game-watching parties, buy tickets ahead of time, and get ready for an exciting season of hockey. In this guide, we will provide all the information you need to know about when does hockey season start across different leagues.


Hockey season is a much-anticipated time for fans of the sport, as they eagerly await the start of their favorite teams’ campaigns. The start date of hockey season varies depending on the league and level of play, with different start dates for the NHL, college hockey, and junior leagues.

For the NHL, the regular season typically begins in early October, with the schedule release usually taking place in June. This announcement is highly anticipated by fans, who are eager to know when their team will be playing and which games they can attend. The opening night of the NHL season is a big event, with many teams hosting special ceremonies to kick off the season.

College hockey also has its own start date, with regular season games beginning in late September or early October. Many college hockey teams participate in inter-conference tournaments early in the season, which add an extra layer of excitement to the start of the season. The championship tournament for college hockey takes place in March, with the Frozen Four being the pinnacle of the season.

Junior league hockey also has its own start date, with some leagues beginning their regular seasons in August or September. These leagues are often a stepping stone for young players who hope to one day play at the college or professional level. National championships for junior league hockey are held throughout the year, with each league crowning its own champion.

Overall, the start of hockey season is an exciting time for fans and players alike. With so many leagues and levels of play starting at different times, there’s always something to look forward to in the world of hockey.

The Start of the NHL Season

Schedule Release

One of the most anticipated moments for hockey fans is the release of the schedule for the upcoming season. The schedule announcement typically happens several months before the start of the season, and it’s a crucial time for teams and fans alike to prepare for what’s ahead.

The exact date of the schedule release can vary from year to year, but it usually happens in late June or early July for the NHL season. College hockey and junior leagues may have different timelines, so it’s important to check with each league to find out when their schedules will be announced.

When the schedule is released, there are several important dates that fans should take note of. These include the opening night game, which is often a high-profile matchup between two top teams. Other notable dates may include rivalry games, holiday games, and games against popular opponents.

In addition to these specific dates, the schedule release also provides fans with an overall sense of the team’s season. They can see how many games will be played at home versus away, as well as how many back-to-back games there are. This information can be helpful for fans who are planning to attend games or follow the team closely throughout the season.

Overall, the schedule release is a highly anticipated event that sets the tone for the upcoming hockey season. It provides fans with valuable information about important dates and the team’s overall schedule, allowing them to plan ahead and get excited for the season ahead.

Opening Night

Opening Night

The first game of the NHL season is always an exciting moment for fans and players alike. Known as Opening Night, this event marks the beginning of a new season and sets the tone for what’s to come in the following months.

The anticipation leading up to opening night is palpable, as teams prepare to showcase their skills and compete for the coveted Stanley Cup trophy. The date for opening night is usually announced well in advance, allowing fans to plan accordingly and get ready for the big event.

In addition to the first game of the season, opening night also includes an elaborate opening ceremony that features music, lights, and pyrotechnics. Players are introduced one by one, giving fans the chance to cheer for their favorite stars and get a glimpse of the new talent on the team.

One of the most memorable opening night ceremonies was held in 2017 when the Vegas Golden Knights played their first-ever NHL game. The ceremony included performances by Wayne Newton and Imagine Dragons, as well as a tribute to the victims of the tragic shooting that had taken place just days before.

While opening night is certainly a time for celebration, it’s also a time for teams to demonstrate their readiness for the season ahead. Winning the first game can set the tone for the rest of the year, while a loss can be a wake-up call that spurs the team into action. No matter what the outcome, opening night is a momentous occasion in the world of hockey that fans eagerly anticipate every year.

College Hockey Season

Regular Season Dates

Regular Season Dates

One of the most anticipated aspects of hockey season is the game schedule and matchups. Fans eagerly await the release of the regular season dates to plan their calendars and schedule their attendance at games.

In the NHL, the regular season typically starts in early October and runs through mid-April. Each team plays 82 games, with half of those games being played at home and half on the road. The schedule is designed to ensure that each team plays against every other team in the league at least twice, once on their home ice and once on the road.

College hockey has a similar setup, with teams playing around 24-30 games during the regular season. The schedules are usually released in the summer, giving fans plenty of time to plan their game attendance. Matchups are determined based on conference affiliations, with each team playing against their conference opponents multiple times and non-conference opponents only once or twice.

Junior league hockey has a more varied regular season schedule, with some leagues playing around 60 games and others playing closer to 40. The schedules are typically released in late summer or early fall, depending on the league. Matchups are determined based on league standings and divisional affiliations.

In addition to regular season games, many leagues also have special events throughout the year, such as outdoor games or holiday tournaments. These events are often highly anticipated by fans and can provide memorable experiences for attendees.

Overall, the game schedule and matchups are an essential part of the hockey season, providing excitement and anticipation for fans across all levels of the sport.

Championship Tournaments

Championship Tournaments

One of the most anticipated events in hockey season is the championship tournaments. These tournaments are where the best teams from the regular season come together to compete for the ultimate prize: the championship title.

The playoffs determine which teams make it to the championship finals. The playoffs consist of a series of games where teams compete against each other in a bracket-style format. The team that wins the most games advances to the next round, until only two teams remain in the finals.

The finals are a culmination of all the hard work and dedication put into the season. It’s an opportunity for the players to showcase their skills on the biggest stage and for fans to witness some of the most exciting moments in hockey.

One of the most famous championship tournaments in North America is the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The playoffs consist of four rounds, with the winner of each round advancing to the next until there are only two teams remaining. The final two teams then compete in a best-of-seven series to determine the Stanley Cup champion.

But it’s not just the NHL that has championship tournaments. College hockey and junior leagues also have their own championships, such as the Frozen Four for college hockey and the Memorial Cup for junior leagues.

These championship tournaments create unforgettable moments and memories that will last a lifetime. From game-winning goals to amazing saves, the finals always leave fans on the edge of their seats.

Junior League Hockey Season

League Schedules

League Schedules

One of the most exciting aspects of hockey season is seeing your favorite teams take to the ice for games. If you’re a fan of junior league hockey, you’ll want to keep track of the schedules so you don’t miss any of the action. Here’s what you need to know about game times and locations.

Game Times

Hockey is a fast-paced sport that offers non-stop excitement, and each game is full of thrilling moments. Junior league games are typically held in the evenings or on weekends, making it easy for fans to attend in person or watch online. The start times can vary depending on the league and the location of the game. Some leagues may have earlier start times for weekday games to accommodate younger players who need to attend school the next day. It’s important to check the schedule for each team you follow to make sure you don’t miss any games.


Junior league hockey games can be held at different locations throughout the season. Some teams may play at dedicated arenas, while others may use community rinks or even outdoor facilities. Depending on the location, you may need to plan ahead to ensure you have the right clothing and equipment to stay warm. You should also consider transportation options if you’re planning to attend games in different cities or towns.

Overall, knowing the game times and locations for your favorite junior league hockey teams can help you enjoy the season to the fullest. Whether you’re watching from home or attending games in person, the excitement of the sport is sure to keep you entertained. Make sure to check the league schedules regularly to stay up-to-date on all the latest news and events.

National Championships

National Championships

National championships are the pinnacle of the hockey season for junior league players. This is where the best teams from across the country compete against each other in a tournament-like format to determine the ultimate champion.

The finals of national championships are highly anticipated and draw in large crowds of fans who come to watch the action unfold. The atmosphere is electric, with both teams and spectators alike feeling the pressure and excitement of the moment.

The tournament typically involves several rounds of elimination matches, leading up to the final showdown between the two top-performing teams. It’s a grueling process that demands a combination of skill, strategy, and mental toughness.

For the players, competing in the national championships is a dream come true. It’s an opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage and potentially catch the eye of scouts from higher-level leagues. Many players view it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things in their hockey careers.

But it’s not just about winning or losing. The experience of playing in the national championships is one that stays with players for a lifetime. They form strong bonds with their teammates, learn valuable lessons about perseverance and teamwork, and create memories that they will cherish forever.

In conclusion, the national championships represent the culmination of a long and challenging season for junior league players. It’s a time to celebrate their achievements, showcase their skills, and compete against the best teams in the country. And while winning may be the ultimate goal, the journey itself is what makes it truly special.


After reading this comprehensive guide about when hockey season starts, it’s safe to say that hockey fans are eagerly anticipating the beginning of the season. The start date for each league is highly anticipated as it marks the beginning of a new journey filled with rivalries, intense gameplay, and the potential for championship titles.

For NHL fans, the anticipated start date is usually in early October. This is the time when teams start to release their schedules and fans can begin planning their game attendance or TV viewing schedule. The opening night of the NHL season is always an exciting event, complete with pre-game ceremonies and festivities.

College hockey fans have their own set of anticipated start dates, typically beginning in late September or early October. The regular season lasts until February, where teams then compete in conference tournaments and eventually the national championships in March.

Junior league hockey fans also eagerly await the start of their season, with most leagues beginning in September or October. These leagues provide a platform for talented young players to showcase their skills before potentially moving on to more competitive levels.

Regardless of which league or level of hockey you’re a fan of, the anticipated start date brings with it a sense of excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. From the thrill of seeing your favorite team take the ice to the friendly banter between rival fans, hockey season is a time where fans come together to celebrate the sport they love.

So mark your calendars and get ready for the start of hockey season – it’s sure to be a wild ride!
The start of hockey season is a highly anticipated time for millions of fans around the world. Whether it’s the NHL, college hockey, or junior leagues, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy this exciting sport. From schedule releases to opening ceremonies and playoffs, there’s always something to look forward to. As the new season approaches, it’s important to stay up-to-date on important dates and events. With this guide, you’ll be fully prepared to enjoy all that hockey season has to offer. So gear up, get ready, and let the games begin!

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