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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

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

You are watching: How long is a hockey game

If you are a new hockey pan (and if so, welcome come the club!) you may have some questions. Among them may be what type of time commitment you are making once you sit down to clock hockey.


How long is that NHL video game going come take?

Well, it depends, however let’s obtain into comment the basic question of just how long a hockey game is.

National Hockey League game Time

RELATED: How plenty of Periods are in a Hockey Game?

Now, we should note the ice hockey games happen everywhere the world. Us aren’t talking about your local beer league here or the roller hockey league you played in v your girlfriend in high school.

The size of a hockey video game is standardization from one NHL hockey video game down through the minor leagues of the AHL and also ECHL come Olympic hockey and also even through college hockey games.

So let’s talk about regulation time.

During the continual season and the playoffs, the regulation time of an NHL game is 60 minutes of game time. This hour of hockey action is separated into three 20-minute periods. Now, in the very early job of NHL history, they offered two periods of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking over a century ago. Everybody lively today has only known an NHL through three periods of 20 minutes during regulation.

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


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When a ref blows their whistle, the game clock stops. In the NHL, three times per period, there room TV timeouts for commercial breaks. Those are shorter respites. The intermissions room a various story.

After the very first and 2nd periods, NHL groups are detailed with a 17-minute intermission. This is not just to offer players a possibility to rest and also goalies a possibility to obtain off their feet because that a few. During intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice cream smoother and fresher. We don’t require pucks bouncing and also skates getting captured in ruts.

Don’t suppose a game to constantly end together the horn blows on the third period. If the teams are tied in ~ the finish of regulation, we’re top to overtime. The NHL provides a five-minute overtime duration during the regular season. Oh, and also this is sudden-death overtime, by the way, which means if a team scores, castle win.

The NHL’s overtime rules have changed a bit over the years. First, it used to be five-on-five, then it came to be four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really really hopes to finish games throughout the five minutes that extra time.

For plenty of years, if a video game was tied after overtime, the was the finish of the game. Both teams gained one suggest for a tie, and that to be that. The NHL wasn’t satisfied with this, though.

So now, if a game is tied after overtime, we acquire a shootout. This could, theoretically, critical forever. But, in reality, it usually just lasts for a few minutes, as groups rarely get through the first three shooters they select to start a shootout.


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

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now you understand the rules of regular-season games, but the NHL playoffs operate a little bit differently.

While a playoff video game still is composed of 3 20-minute periods, overtime is a various story.

In the postseason, overtimes room 20 minute of sudden-death hockey play at five-on-five. If the video game is still tied, us get an additional 20-minute overtime, and so on and so forth until somebody scores.

It’s expert hockey at its finest.

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If you are figured out to clock an NHL playoff game until that is conclusion, you’d far better be prepared to be in because that the lengthy haul. The longest playoff game in NHL background took location in 1936 when the Detroit Red Wings to win the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It got in a whopping 6 overtimes and also a total game time the 176 minutes and 30 seconds.