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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

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

You are watching: How long do hockey games take

If you are a new hockey fan (and if so, welcome come the club!) friend may have actually some questions. One of them may be what sort of time commitment you are making when you sit under to watch hockey.


How long is the NHL video game going come take?

Well, the depends, yet let’s obtain into comment the straightforward question of exactly how long a hockey game is.

National Hockey League game Time

RELATED: How many Periods space in a Hockey Game?

Now, we have to note that ice hockey games happen almost everywhere the world. We aren’t talking about your local beer league below or the roller hockey organization you played in v your friends in high school.

The length of a hockey video game is standardization from an NHL hockey game down through the boy leagues the the AHL and ECHL come Olympic hockey and also even with college hockey games.

So let’s talk around regulation time.

During the consistent season and also the playoffs, the regulation time of one NHL game is 60 minutes of game time. This hour that hockey activity is split into three 20-minute periods. Now, in the an extremely early days of NHL history, they used two durations of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking end a century ago. Everybody lively today has actually only known an NHL with 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 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 per period, there room TV timeouts for commercial breaks. Those are much shorter respites. The intermissions are a different story.

After the an initial and 2nd periods, NHL teams are detailed with a 17-minute intermission. This is not simply to give players a opportunity to rest and goalies a possibility to get off their feet for a few. Throughout intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice cream smoother and fresher. Us don’t need pucks bouncing and skates getting caught in ruts.

Don’t mean a game to constantly end as the horn blows top top the 3rd period. If the teams space tied in ~ the finish of regulation, we’re headed to overtime. The NHL provides a five-minute overtime duration during the continual season. Oh, and this is sudden-death overtime, by the way, which means if a team scores, they win.

The NHL’s overtime rules have changed a little over the years. First, it provided to it is in five-on-five, climate it came to be four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three since the NHL really wishes to end games throughout the five minutes the extra time.

For many years, if a video game was tied ~ overtime, the was the finish of the game. Both teams obtained one suggest for a tie, and also that was that. The NHL wasn’t satisfied with this, though.

So now, if a game is tied after overtime, we gain a shootout. This could, theoretically, critical forever. But, in reality, the usually only lasts for a couple of minutes, as teams rarely obtain through the first three shooters they pick 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 understand the rules of regular-season games, however the NHL playoffs run a bit differently.

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

In the postseason, overtimes room 20 minute of sudden-death hockey played at five-on-five. If the video game is quiet tied, we get an additional 20-minute overtime, and so on and so forth till somebody scores.

It’s experienced 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 long haul. The longest playoff game in NHL history took place in 1936 as soon as the Detroit Red Wings win the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It went into a whopping six overtimes and also a total game time the 176 minutes and also 30 seconds.