Today at 5:02 am marks the winter solstice in Toronto. That makes today the shortest day of the year, and it also means the days get longer.

The winter solstice in Germanic culture gave rise to the traditions of Yule or Juul in Sweden, and those pagan feasts and other interesting traditions have been moved a few days later in the calendar to become Christmas traditions hiding their pagan past.

Some try less harder than others to hide that past:

A lot of Yule traditions involve light, fire and eating, so I’m sure you can figure out what to do to celebrate this day.

The big news in hockey is that the NHL is lurching back to life in very rapid fashion:

Key Dates for the Proposed 2021 NHL Season - Pension Plan Puppets
Written in pencil for now, and subject to change.

The details are still slightly sketchy since while some teams are planning to sell tickets:

The Canadian authorities are not yet sure this is a plausible idea:

Work remains before NHL can drop the puck for 2020-21 season -
The plan is to play in all 31 NHL arenas, where possible. Some arenas will be able to host fans starting next month. Other arenas may not be able to host games at all - even without fans.

The issue remains unresolved in Canada.

Once there is agreement, or an alternate plan, expect a schedule to be issued this week, and we’ll dig into the rules a little deeper once we can read them first hand.

Meanwhile the virus-plagued WJC was supposed to start up last night with exhibition games, but the IIHF cancelled all but one per team to account for the new quarantine necessary for Germany and Sweden after they arrived having tested negative, but acquired 10 cases of COVID-19 in an immaculate infection.

The new schedule of exhibition games is:

The actual game schedule has not changed.

Expect some trades, signings and other activity to continue over what is usually the Holiday Roster Freeze. There’s no freeze this year, instead waivers begin on December 28, and the taxi squads and AHL rosters will take shape.

The AHL itself is now ready to gear up to see if they can get a season going.

Expect AHL signings to begin as soon as teams believe there will be a season.

Any Canadian team wanting to sign a non-resident to a late UFA NHL contract, or trade for one, needs to hurry since 14 days of quarantine already overlaps the start of training camp.

The man everyone ignored on T25 voting has points:

So obviously we were all wrong about him. The next installment of the T25 list goes up today, and if you haven’t figured it out already, we’re going to finish by the 25th, just in time for the WJC.

You need to work harder and argue more in each post since there’s fewer of them.

That’s it for today, have a good, short day, brace yourself for the lockdown news later, but  remember the sun comes up a little earlier tomorrow.