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How Long Do Hockey Games Last? Quick Guide to Timings!

Hockey games typically last around 2 to 2.5 hours. The duration includes three 20-minute periods.

Hockey is an exhilarating sport that captivates fans with its speed, skill, and physicality. From the intense face-offs to the thrilling goals, every moment keeps spectators on the edge of their seats. The fast-paced nature of the game, combined with the strategic plays and impressive athleticism of the players, creates an electrifying atmosphere in the arena.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a newcomer to the sport, the excitement of a hockey game is sure to leave you wanting more. Let’s dive into the details of how long hockey games last and what makes them such a thrilling experience for fans around the world.

How Long Do Hockey Games Last? Quick Guide to Timings!


Introduction To Hockey Game Durations

Hockey games typically last around 2 to 3 hours, including three 20-minute periods. However, factors like stoppages and overtime can extend the game duration. Fans enjoy the fast-paced action and intense competition throughout the game.

The Appeal Of Hockey

Hockey, a fast-paced and exhilarating sport, has captivated fans around the world for decades. With its combination of skill, strategy, and physicality, hockey offers a unique and thrilling experience for both players and spectators. One aspect that adds to the excitement of the game is the duration of hockey matches, which can vary depending on several factors.

Timing: A Critical Element

In the world of hockey, timing is a critical element that impacts the duration of games. Unlike other sports with fixed time limits, such as basketball or soccer, hockey matches are divided into three periods. Each period consists of 20 minutes of gameplay, separated by intermissions. However, the actual duration of a hockey game can be influenced by various factors, including:

  • Regulation time
  • Overtime
  • Shootouts
  • Penalties
  • TV timeouts

During regulation time, the clock continuously runs unless there is a stoppage in play, such as a goal being scored, an offside violation, or an icing call. These stoppages, along with timeouts, penalties, and other game-related interruptions, can extend the duration of the match.

In situations where the score is tied at the end of regulation time, overtime periods are added to determine a winner. Overtime can consist of one or more additional 20-minute periods, with sudden-death rules often implemented. This means that the first team to score during overtime wins the game.

If no winner is determined during overtime, a shootout may be used to break the tie. Shootouts involve a series of one-on-one attempts between skaters and the opposing goaltender. The team that scores the most goals in the shootout wins the game.

It’s important to note that the duration of a hockey game can also be influenced by external factors, such as TV timeouts. These commercial breaks, scheduled at specific intervals during the game, allow broadcasters to air advertisements and provide a breather for both players and spectators.

Hockey Game Durations
Game Type Average Duration
Regulation Time Approximately 2 hours
Overtime Varies (up to 20 minutes per period)
Shootout Approximately 10 minutes

In conclusion, the duration of a hockey game can vary depending on multiple factors, including regulation time, overtime, shootouts, penalties, and TV timeouts. The fast-paced nature of the sport, combined with these elements, ensures that fans are always on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the outcome of each match.

Breaking Down The Game Clock

Periods Of Play

Hockey games are divided into three periods, each lasting 20 minutes of play time. The game clock stops during stoppages in play, such as when the puck goes out of play or when a penalty is called. This means that the actual time it takes to complete a period can be longer due to these stoppages.

Intermission Intervals

Between each period, there is a 15-minute intermission. This break allows the players to rest and recuperate before heading back onto the ice for the next period of play.

Stoppage Time Factors

Hockey games typically last around 2-3 hours, including stoppage time factors for penalties, injuries, and timeouts. The duration can vary depending on the pace of the game and the number of stoppages.

Stoppage time in hockey games can significantly impact the overall length of the match. There are several common causes for pauses during a hockey game, each contributing to the stoppage time. Additionally, these stoppages can have a direct impact on the length of the game, affecting the duration of play and the overall experience for both players and spectators.

Common Causes For Pauses

There are various reasons for pauses during a hockey game, which can lead to stoppage time. These common causes include: 1. Injuries: When a player gets injured, the game is halted to ensure their safety and provide necessary medical attention. This pause can range from a few seconds to several minutes, depending on the severity of the injury. 2. Penalties: When a player commits a penalty, such as tripping or slashing, the game is temporarily stopped. The penalized player is sent to the penalty box, and the opposing team receives a power play opportunity. 3. Offsides: If a player enters the offensive zone before the puck, an offside infraction occurs. The game is paused, and a faceoff takes place outside the offensive zone. 4. Icing: When a player shoots the puck from behind the center line and it crosses the opponent’s goal line without being touched, icing is called. The game is temporarily stopped, and a faceoff takes place in the offending team’s defensive zone. 5. Video Reviews: In some cases, controversial plays or goals require video review for clarification. This can lead to a pause in the game while the officials review the footage.

Impact On Game Length

The stoppage time factors mentioned above can significantly impact the length of a hockey game. The more frequent the pauses, the longer the game will be. While the duration of these pauses may seem relatively short individually, they can add up over the course of a game, extending the overall playing time. It is essential to consider the impact of stoppage time on the players’ endurance and performance. Prolonged games can lead to fatigue and affect the quality of play. Similarly, spectators may find longer games more challenging to follow, especially if they have time constraints or limited attention spans. Understanding the common causes for pauses and their impact on game length allows us to appreciate the time and effort involved in playing and watching a hockey game. It emphasizes the need for efficient game management and the importance of minimizing unnecessary stoppages to maintain the flow and excitement of the sport.

Overtime And Shootouts

In the exciting world of hockey, sometimes the game doesn’t end in regulation time. When the score is tied at the end of the third period, the game goes into overtime. This additional period gives teams a chance to break the tie and claim victory. If the game remains tied after overtime, a shootout is used to determine the winner. Let’s take a closer look at the rules and dynamics of overtime and shootouts in hockey.

Rules For Extended Play

When a hockey game is tied at the end of the third period, teams enter into extended play to determine a winner. In the National Hockey League (NHL), the rules for overtime have changed over the years. Currently, NHL teams play a five-minute sudden death period, meaning the first team to score a goal wins the game. However, if no goals are scored during this period, the game proceeds to a shootout.

Sudden Death Dynamics

Sudden death overtime in hockey adds an extra level of intensity and excitement. The team that scores the first goal during this period wins the game immediately. This creates a thrilling atmosphere as players push themselves to secure victory for their team. The pressure is on, and every shot, save, and pass becomes crucial in determining the outcome of the game.

In overtime, teams often adopt a more aggressive playing style, taking more risks to score that game-winning goal. This leads to increased speed, physicality, and intensity on the ice. The sudden death dynamics of overtime make for some of the most memorable moments in hockey history.


If the game remains tied after the overtime period, a shootout is used to determine the winner. In a shootout, each team selects three players to take penalty shots against the opposing team’s goaltender. The players have a limited amount of time to make their move and try to score a goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the shootout is declared the winner.

Shootouts provide a thrilling conclusion to a tied game, as the fate of the teams rests on the skills and composure of the shooters and goaltenders. It’s a high-pressure situation that often showcases the talents of the players, as they display their creativity and accuracy in their attempts to score.

While some hockey fans have differing opinions about shootouts, there’s no denying the excitement they bring to the game. Shootouts have become an integral part of modern hockey, providing a fair and decisive way to determine a winner when overtime fails to do so.

In conclusion, overtime and shootouts in hockey add an extra level of excitement and drama to the game. The rules for extended play, sudden death dynamics, and shootouts themselves all contribute to the intense and thrilling nature of hockey. Whether it’s a sudden death goal in overtime or a game-deciding shootout, these moments make hockey an exhilarating sport to watch.

Time Management In Professional Leagues

Nhl Standards

Hockey games in the NHL typically last around 2 to 2.5 hours, including stoppages and intermissions. The standard game time consists of three 20-minute periods, with intermissions of 17 minutes between periods. In the case of overtime or shootouts, the duration can be extended.

International Variations

When it comes to international hockey, such as the IIHF tournaments, game durations can vary. In IIHF tournaments, games consist of three 20-minute periods, but the intermissions are shorter, lasting only 15 minutes between periods. Overtime rules also differ from the NHL, with a sudden-death format and no shootout.

How Long Do Hockey Games Last? Quick Guide to Timings!


Effects Of Broadcasting

When it comes to the effects of broadcasting on hockey games, the length of the broadcast is a crucial factor to consider. Television timeouts and media influence on game flow play significant roles in determining the duration of hockey games.

Television Timeouts

Television timeouts are a standard feature of hockey broadcasts, providing sponsors with dedicated advertising slots. These breaks, typically occurring after the first whistle following the 14, 10, and 6-minute marks of each period, contribute to the elongation of game time. During these timeouts, the action on the ice halts, extending the overall duration of the game.

Media Influence On Game Flow

The influence of media on game flow is undeniable. With broadcasters aiming to maximize commercial breaks and advertising revenue, the pace of the game is often affected. Stoppages in play, such as video reviews and on-ice officials consulting with the NHL’s Situation Room, can be prolonged by media considerations, impacting the speed and fluidity of the game.

Youth And Amateur Game Times

Youth and amateur hockey games typically last for three 20-minute periods, with intermissions totaling around 15 minutes. Including stoppages, games generally run for about 90 minutes, providing an exciting and action-packed experience for players and spectators alike.

Differences At Lower Levels

Young and amateur hockey games typically last about 1 to 1.5 hours.

Learning The Ropes

Players develop skills and teamwork at youth and amateur levels.

How Long Do Hockey Games Last? Quick Guide to Timings!


Planning Your Hockey Experience

Hockey games typically last around 2 to 2. 5 hours, including three 20-minute periods with intermissions. However, factors like stoppages and overtime can extend the duration. Planning your hockey experience with this timeframe in mind ensures an enjoyable outing.

Anticipating Game Length

On average, hockey games typically last for about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Making The Most Of Your Visit

Arrive early to soak in the pre-game atmosphere.

Check out team warm-ups for a close-up experience.

Grab snacks and drinks to enjoy during intermissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is A Typical Hockey Game?

A typical hockey game lasts for about 60 minutes, divided into three 20-minute periods, with 15-minute breaks between each period. However, the game time may vary based on factors such as stoppages, penalties, and overtime.

How Long Does A Hockey Game Last On Tv?

A hockey game typically lasts for around 2. 5 to 3 hours on TV. This includes pre-game coverage, commercial breaks, and post-game analysis. The actual game playtime is around 60 minutes, while the remaining time is filled with commentary and advertisements.

How Long Can A Hockey Game Last In Overtime?

If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, the game enters into overtime, which is a sudden-death period. In the NHL, overtime lasts for a maximum of 5 minutes, and if no team scores, the game goes into a shootout.

However, in playoffs, the game goes into multiple overtime periods until a team scores.

How Long Do Intermissions Last During A Hockey Game?

Intermissions last for 15 minutes between each period of a hockey game. During this time, players can take a break, and coaches can strategize and make necessary changes to their game plan. Fans can also take a break, grab some food or drinks, and use the restrooms.


To sum up, the length of hockey games varies depending on the level of play. Professional games are longer than amateur games, with the NHL allowing up to 60 minutes of playtime. Youth games and recreational leagues may have shorter game times.

It’s important to keep in mind that game length may also be affected by factors such as overtime and penalties. Ultimately, whether you’re a player or a spectator, the thrill of hockey is not just about the length of the game, but the intensity and excitement that comes with it.



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