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Return of the NHL: Dates to know for the Upcoming Season

With the clock hitting zero last night in Vancouver, and with the Boston Bruins breaking an almost 40 year drought in their quest to return Lord Stanley’s Cup to Beantown, we finally get to take a break from hockey.


Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Or do we?

While the temperature starts to rise, making us want to forget all about hockey for awhile, we need to remember that here in Winnipeg there are a significant number of dates that will play an integral role in the team’s development.

GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, Assistant GM Craig Heisinger and the entire True North staff will have to burn the midnight oil as they not only prepare for next season but essentially turn an AHL operation into an NHL one.

Here are the dates you are going to need to mark on your calendar this summer:

June 21stNHL Board of Governors meetWill they or won’t they accept Winnipeg into the NHL.  This is 100% done.

June 24th-25thNHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, MinnesotaThe team makes it’s first ever Winnipeg selection in the NHL draft.  The last time we were in this position, was fresh from the WHA when the Jets took Jimmy Mann with the 19th selection in the 1979 draftExpect a HUGE Winnipeg/Manitoba contingent to be on hand to cheer on Cheveldayoff/Heisinger as they make the 1st selection in the 7th spotIC’s own Kyle & Ez will be live at the Draft covering all the news via our twitter, @illegalcurve.
NHL Draft 2011

More important dates this summer after the jump.

End of JuneSeat selection begins for Season Ticket holdersTrue North has stated that they expect this process to go for approximately 8-10 weeks.

End of JuneTeam Name revealedSpeculation is that the team name won’t be released at the draft and certainly not before the BOG’s meet We think its down to Falcons and JetsSome still think Moose are in play but we don’t think so.
Possible Team Names

End of June – Mid JulyNHL schedule gets releasedLast season the schedule was released on June 22nd (thanks Ben Wright).  I think people are eager to see who the new team will face off against in our first home opener, when they play the Coyotes, as well as checking out if Teemu (assuming he re-signs) and the Ducks will be landing in the Peg’.
Season Tickets1

June 27thDeadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their restricted free agentsThe restricted free agents include; Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Ben Maxwell, Rob Schremp, Anthony Stewart, Zach Bogosian, Brett Festerling. The offers must be made by this date although they cannot be officially accepted until the 1st of July.

June 30thThe top and bottom of the salary cap will be releasedTrue North has said they won’t spend to the cap, but our resident capologist suggests that the team will probably be in the 52 million dollar range.

July 1st:    Free Agency period begins in the NHLWill the team make a big splash?  All indicators seem to suggest they won’t.

Unrestricted free agents:  Radek Dvorak, Eric Boulton, Freddy Meyer.

July 5thPlayers must file if they want Salary ArbitrationExpect Winnipeg to avoid arbitration as it wouldn’t be a good start to their relationshop with their players.

Mid July- Mid AugustScheduled Arbitration HearingsAccording to the CBA, on the 5th of December the designated Salary Arbitrators provide 7 available dates for the period of arbitration.

Mid SeptemberTraining camp opens up for the first time here in the cityAn NHL training camp is quite an interesting event.  Teams like the Red Wings go up north to Traverse City, Michigan and take over the town for a few days.  Will be interesting to see what True North has planned.

September 13thRelease of NHL 2012While not a significant date/event for the hockey team, an important step in reclaiming that name recognition in North America.  While I believe the last game I ever owned was NHL 1996 for the SNES, will be nice to see the MTS Centre and our hockey team represented.  (Update:  I’ve been informed that NHL 2011 had the Jets and MTS Centre represented.  Regardless we like that it is now our official team and not a throwback.  Sticktap to IC reader cabbage).
EA Sports

End of September:  Pre-season exhibition games beginThe city will be buzzing as we finally get to watch a home team playing in our barn.  People questioned Winnipeg’s dedication to the NHL when they saw that we didn’t sell out an exhibition game last season between the Hawks and Bolts but the reality is people in Winnipeg were sick of supporting someone else’s team.

Beginning of OctoberThe still unnamed team makes its NHL debut and begins the 2011/12 season in front of 15,000 insane Winnipeg fans.