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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

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

You are watching: How long does a hockey game usually last

If you room a brand-new hockey fan (and if so, welcome come the club!) girlfriend may have some questions. One of them may be what type of time commitment you space making when you sit under to watch hockey.


How lengthy is that NHL video game going come take?

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

National Hockey League game Time

RELATED: How numerous Periods are in a Hockey Game?

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

The length of a hockey game is standardized from one NHL hockey game down through the young leagues that the AHL and also ECHL to 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 video game time. This hour the hockey action is split into 3 20-minute periods. Now, in the really early job of NHL history, they supplied two periods of 30 minutes.

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

Ah, yet they don’t just play three durations of unceasing action. This isn’t soccer, and also even soccer has actually a halftime. There are 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 space TV timeouts because that commercial breaks. Those are much shorter respites. The intermissions are a various story.

After the an initial and second periods, NHL teams are listed with a 17-minute intermission. This is not simply to give players a possibility to rest and also goalies a opportunity to acquire off their feet for a few. During intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice smoother and also fresher. Us don’t require pucks bouncing and also skates getting recorded in ruts.

Don’t intend a video game to constantly end as the horn blows on the third period. If the teams room tied in ~ the end of regulation, we’re top to overtime. The NHL supplies a five-minute overtime period during the continuous 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 adjusted a bit over the years. First, it supplied to be five-on-five, then it came to be four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really hopes to end games throughout the 5 minutes of extra time.

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

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


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

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now you understand the rule of regular-season games, but the NHL playoffs run a bit differently.

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

In the postseason, overtimes are 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 till somebody scores.

It’s expert hockey at its finest.

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If girlfriend are determined to watch an NHL playoff video game until that is conclusion, you’d far better be ready 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 to win the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It got in a whopping 6 overtimes and a full game time the 176 minutes and also 30 seconds.