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AP Photo/Nick Wass

Every sport has its idiosyncrasies, and ice hockey is no different.

You are watching: How many periods are in a hockey game

Part of developing a sports is comes up with the method the gamings will be structured. Take, for example, soccer, i m sorry is traditionally separated into halves. The NBA and the NFL have four quarters to their games. Major league Baseball has nine innings, although now doubleheaders are only seven innings.


What about a hockey game, though? how are NHL games structured? There’s regulation time, the course, however a National Hockey League game is not constantly bound come the temporal limitations of regulation.

So exactly how does the NHL divvy increase its time? and also how can it different from one ice hockey game to the next?

How many Periods in Hockey?

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The NHL’s regular-season gamings are divided into three 20-minute periods. This has actually been the case in the NHL, and also in other establishments like IIHF, for fairly some time.

Over a century ago, NHL games were separated into two 30-minute halves, yet nobody left lively remembers those days.

After the very first period come the an initial intermission, which allows the players to remainder in the locker room. However, intermissions room about more than rest. It’s additionally the time because that the Zamboni to resurface the hockey rink.

Ice skates do some real damage to the ice, and also a poor-quality rink provides for poor quality place. Typically speaking, the NHL employs a 17-minute intermission. Over there is an additional intermission after the second period, and if a team is front at the finish of the third period the game ends.


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However, if the game is tied on the scoreboard in ~ the end of regulation then we acquire some overtime.

The NHL’s overtime duration during the regular season is 5 minutes that sudden fatality hockey. That way if a team scores first, they win. Before overtime, the ice surface ar may acquire a little of a sprucing up yet there is no true intermission.

Over the last couple of decades, the NHL has actually tweaked that regular-season overtime rules. There used to be five skaters a side, add to a goalie — similar to during regulation play. After ~ a time, the NHL moved to four-on-four overtime.

Why? since if the video game was tied in ~ the finish of the five-minute overtime, the would end in a tie, and North American sports are adverse come draws. The hope was four-on-four would certainly lead to more scoring.

Starting through the 2015-16 NHL season, the organization moved come three-on-three overtime. It’s not basic on defensemen or goaltenders, but it yielded much more games made decision in sudden death overtime. The league wants that, since there are no much longer ties in the NHL.

After five minutes the overtime in the NHL continuous season they employ a shootout. In an NHL shootout, three hockey players from each team are favored to walk one-on-one v the the opposite goalie.

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If one team scores an ext goals out of those three chances they win. If they space tied, the shootout continues. In the NHL, you should used a various shooter because that every attempt till you run out, yet in Olympic pat a team is enabled to usage a player many times.