The NHL season will NOT be kicking off in the great outdoors -- 'cause the league has just officially postponed the 2021 Winter Classic.
The Minnesota Wild were set to host the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis on Jan 1 ... but NHL officials are now hoping to get it done in 2022, when fans can attend -- AKA, when we're hopefully not still in a pandemic.
The All-Star Weekend festivities -- scheduled to go down in Jan. 2021 -- has also been pushed, the league said Thursday.
"Fan participation, both in arenas and stadiums as well as in the ancillary venues and events that we stage around the Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend, is integral to the success of our signature events,” NHL Senior EVP and COO Steve Mayer said in a statement.
"Because of the uncertainty as to when we will be able to welcome our fans back to our games, we felt that the prudent decision at this time was to postpone these celebrations until 2022 when our fans should be able to enjoy and celebrate these tentpole events in-person, as they were always intended."
The league says it still plans to start its 2021 season at the beginning of the year ... so, at least there WILL be hockey ... just indoors.