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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The an excellent ol’ hockey game. It’s the ideal game you have the right to name. And so on.

You are watching: How long is a hockey game?

If you space a brand-new hockey fan (and if so, welcome to the club!) you may have actually some questions. One of them may be what sort of time commitment you space making when you sit down to clock hockey.


How long is that NHL game going come take?

Well, the depends, but let’s obtain into comment the simple question of how long a hockey video game is.

National Hockey League game Time

RELATED: How countless Periods room in a Hockey Game?

Now, we need to note that ice hockey games happen almost everywhere the world. We aren’t talking around your local beer league here or the roller hockey organization you play in v your girlfriend in high school.

The length of a hockey game is standardization from one NHL hockey video game down with the young leagues that the AHL and also ECHL to Olympic hockey and also even with college hockey games.

So let’s talk about regulation time.

During the continuous season and the playoffs, the regulation time of an NHL game is 60 minute of video game time. This hour of hockey activity is separated into three 20-minute periods. Now, in the very early days of NHL history, they used two periods of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking end a century ago. Everybody alive today has only known an NHL with three durations of 20 minutes throughout regulation.

Ah, yet they don’t simply play three periods of unceasing action. This isn’t soccer, and also even soccer has a halftime. There room stoppages in every duration of NHL action.


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When a ref blows your whistle, the game clock stops. In the NHL, 3 times every period, there room TV timeouts for commercial breaks. Those are shorter respites. The intermissions room a different story.

After the very first and second periods, NHL groups are noted with a 17-minute intermission. This is not just to provide players a opportunity to rest and also goalies a chance to obtain off their feet for a few. Throughout intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice smoother and fresher. We don’t need pucks bouncing and skates getting caught in ruts.

Don’t intend a game to always end as the horn blows on the third period. If the teams are tied at the finish of regulation, we’re headed to overtime. The NHL offers a five-minute overtime duration during the consistent season. Oh, and also this is sudden-death overtime, by the way, which way if a team scores, lock win.

The NHL’s overtime rules have readjusted a bit over the years. First, it offered to it is in five-on-five, climate it became four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really wishes to finish games throughout the 5 minutes of extra time.

For many years, if a game was tied after overtime, that was the end of the game. Both teams obtained one allude for a tie, and also that to be that. The NHL wasn’t satisfied through this, though.

So now, if a game is tied ~ overtime, we obtain a shootout. This could, theoretically, critical forever. But, in reality, that usually only lasts for a few minutes, as groups rarely gain through the an initial three shooters they select to begin a shootout.


However, in 2014, the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals in a 20-round shootout.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now you know the rules of regular-season games, yet the NHL playoffs run a little bit differently.

While a playoff video game still consists of three 20-minute periods, overtime is a different story.

In the postseason, overtimes space 20 minutes of sudden-death hockey played at five-on-five. If the game is quiet tied, us get one more 20-minute overtime, and also so on and so forth until somebody scores.

It’s skilled hockey in ~ its finest.

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If you are figured out to watch an NHL playoff game until that is conclusion, you’d much better be prepared to it is in in for the long haul. The longest playoff game in NHL background took location in 1936 when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It entered a whopping six overtimes and a total game time of 176 minutes and also 30 seconds.