As a hockey fan, you know that the game can be intense and action-packed from start to finish. But have you ever wondered how long intermissions in hockey actually are?
Whether you’re watching your favorite NHL team compete or enjoying live amateur hockey at your local rink, understanding the timing of intermissions is essential for planning your breaks between play.
After all, when you’ve been cheering on your team through a nail-biting first period, you don’t want to miss any of the second because you weren’t sure how much time you had before the players returned to the ice.
“Knowing the length of intermissions allows you to make the most of every minute of the game.”
In this post, we’ll explore the answer to the often-asked question, “How Long Are Intermissions In Hockey?” We’ll break down the average length of intermissions during different levels of hockey, and offer tips for making the most of these short but vital breaks in play.
So whether you’re new to hockey or just curious about the details behind the game, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about intermissions!
The Standard Duration of Intermissions in Professional Hockey
Intermission times is a topic that has been much-discussed by both fans and players alike. The standard duration of intermissions in professional hockey may vary depending on the league, but generally, they are designed to provide enough time for ice maintenance, team meetings and rest periods which are necessary because hockey is an intense and physically demanding sport.
The Length of Intermissions in NHL Games
In the National Hockey League (NHL), the length of intermissions is typically 18 minutes between the first two periods and then around 15-17 minutes between the second and third period. These times may vary slightly throughout the season depending on allotted television commercial breaks, ice cleaning times or game delays due to injury, penalties or other unforeseen issues. Regardless, intermissions tend to be long enough for players to regroup and recover while still keeping the momentum and excitement of the game going strong.
“Hockey’s a funny game. You have to prove yourself every shift, every game. It’s not up to anybody else. You have to take pride in yourself” – Paul Coffey
Are Intermission Durations Different in International Hockey?
International leagues such as the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and European Leagues have their own variation of intermissions during games. Generally speaking, these leagues will have longer breaks than the NHL does, ranging from anywhere between 20-30 minutes. This extended time allows more flexibility for post-game interviews, along with any necessary changing room talk, player check-ins and updates.
How Do Intermission Lengths Compare in Minor League and Amateur Hockey?
Minor league teams and amateur levels usually follow rules similar or modified versions of rules used in the NHL. However, the timing of intermissions in these leagues can vary based on rink availability and other variables such as equipment sharing or transportation challenges. Most amateur hockey games include a 15-minute intermission between the second and third period while some might not have intermissions at all.
What Factors Determine the Standard Duration of Intermissions in Hockey?
The standard duration of an intermission in professional hockey is influenced by various factors. One of the most critical factors is the ice cleaning which involves shaving off a thin layer from the top surface of the ice to ensure that there are no rough spots or holes when game play resumes. This typically takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Additional factors are advertisements, live broadcast schedules, player recovery time, fan engagement/promotions, injuries during the game, among others.
“I loved hockey growing up. It’s just, it’s a unique sport in that way that there’s always another level to try to get to.” – Sidney Crosby
While the length of intermissions can vary somewhat depending on different factors like region, league restrictions, or even weather conditions, they all aim to provide rest and recharge opportunities for players and fans alike.
Do All Levels of Hockey Have the Same Intermission Lengths?
Hockey is a fast-paced and physically demanding sport, which requires players to recharge during intermissions. The length of hockey intermissions depends on many factors such as level of play, skating surface type, broadcasting obligations, and more.
Intermission Lengths in College Hockey
In college-level hockey games in North America, teams have one 15-minute intermission between the second and third periods. This time frame allows for some rest and recovery for players, coaching staff, and referees.
According to NCAA rules book regulation 6:40 (e),
“Any changes from the scheduled game times must be agreed upon by both institutions, but no less than five minutes must be allowed for pregame warm-up ice maintenance and resurfacing, and any period break ice maintenance.”
This rule ensures that every team gets enough preparation time before the game and has equal access to ice resurfacing throughout the course of the game.
Are Intermissions Shorter in Youth Hockey?
At the youth hockey level, intermission lengths are usually shorter compared to adult leagues. Depending on the age group, the duration of intermissions can vary. For example:
- 8 years old and under: Two mini-breaks lasting two minutes each after first and second periods and one longer twelve-minute break after third period
- 10-year-olds and under: One ten-minute intermission at half-time
- 12-years-old and under: A minimum of twelve minutes is needed during both halves with an added three or four-minute interval after the first period
The reason behind these scaled-down duration intervals is to keep the young players engaged and avoid long breaks that may affect their concentration and overall energy level.
Intermission Durations in Women’s Hockey
Women’s hockey games generally follow similar guidelines concerning intermission lengths as men’s teams. The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) follows similar intervals range between 15 minutes like NCAA while the Canadian Women’s Hockey League determines a longer period of 17-18 minute intervals.
The NWHL has been trying some new adjusting ways which includes using shorter periods instead to speed up gameplay, unlike other professional leagues who provide faster-paced games by reducing intermissions.
Do Professional and Amateur Hockey Have Different Intermission Lengths?
The duration of intermissions during amateur and professional-level hockey games depends on many factors such as player fatigue, maintenance staff availability, broadcasting obligations, etc.
In the NHL or AHL, teams have one 18-minute intermission between the second and third periods. However, ice surfaces get more beat up over time in the higher level leagues than lower levels due to the faster pace and harder hits. That makes it necessary for longer resurfacing times.
When asked about why professional hockey would require lengthier intermissions, Mike Bolt, Keeper of the Silverware, answered:
“Maintaining an equal playing surface with boards, ice quality, and all the frozen features of table syncing does take additional time.”
Additionally, intermissions are essential at these levels since they give broadcasters strategic opportunities to air commercials and conduct interviews related to the game; even those advertisers fund some arena operators partially.
As we can see, the duration of hockey intermissions varies from league to league depending on different aspects of each category. These breaks become crucial for players’ physical well-being and help to maintain a professional sport’s pace and quality.
What Happens During Intermissions in Hockey?
Ice Maintenance and Repair
One of the primary tasks that take place during intermission in hockey is ice maintenance and repair. This process involves using tools like shovels, scrapers, and Zambonis to clean debris from the playing surface and make sure it is smooth and ready for the start of the next period.
According to Shawn Reynolds, a former NHL equipment manager, “The ice needs love every day. It’s constantly getting nicked up and scratched.” Thus, intermission happens long enough to ensure the game area restores as new and as safe as possible for players.
Player Strategies and Adjustments
During intermission in hockey, coaches and players will discuss tactics they can use to improve their team’s performance. For example, if one team has been struggling defensively, they may spend time reviewing film or going over strategies for maintaining better positioning on the ice.
In addition, players will also take this time to hydrate and refuel with snacks to keep them energized throughout the remainder of the game. Resting is essential before coming back to the ice since hockey requires a lot of physical endurance.
Entertainment and Promotions
Intermission in hockey is not just about maintenance, repair, and tactical review; it can also be an opportunity for entertainment and promotions.
Teams often plan various activities such as lucky draws, giveaways, games, and contests for fans who usually attend these live events. Live DJ music and arena staff organizing trash bin basketball or human bowling competitions light up the atmosphere further enhancing the fan experience and breaks any ongoing gameplay tension highlights Jeremy Rutherford from The Athletic.
“It’s essential and something you have to do because you won’t keep people’s attention if they’re not entertained. It breaks up the game-action monotony and gives the fans a chance to get involved in what’s happening,” says Rutherford.
How Do Teams Use Intermission Time to Their Advantage?
Coach’s Speeches and Adjustments
During intermissions in hockey, coaches are tasked with providing direction and making adjustments that will help their team succeed. This period of time gives coaches a chance to analyze what happened during the first part of the game and make changes accordingly.
Coaches can use this break to talk to their players about specific plays or strategies that need improvement. They may also take time to adjust lineups, player positions, or communication tactics between players on the ice. By taking advantage of the few minutes they have to speak with their team, coaches can drastically improve their team’s chances for success in the next period.
“The strategy board is perfect during intermissions because it allows you to diagram and go over things before heading back to the bench.” – Wayne Gretzky
Player Hydration and Nutrition
As physical as hockey can be, staying hydrated and properly fueled is vital for players’ performance. During intermissions, players have access to water bottles and energy-rich snacks that keep them going throughout the game.
The importance of proper hydration and nutrition shows by increasing players’ endurance levels and ability to focus. It also helps curb cramping and sluggishness late into games where fatigue becomes one of the significant obstacles. In some cases, teams provide nutritional supplements like protein shakes or sports drinks during intermissions to give players an extra boost for the final stretch of gameplay.
“When it comes down to those crucial moments, your body has to maintain its responsiveness while operating at peak efficiency. Proper hydration goes hand-in-hand with good focus and memory recall when it matters most.” – Dr. Kevin Plancher (Orthopedic Surgeon)
Intermission time in hockey can have a significant effect on the game’s outcome. Teams that maximize their use of this break are more likely to come out strong for the rest of the game and increase their chances of winning.
Has the Length of Intermissions in Hockey Changed Over Time?
Intermission lengths have been a topic of discussion for quite some time. The length of an intermission varies depending on the level of hockey being played, but typically ranges between 15 and 20 minutes.
Historical Changes in Intermission Lengths
In the early days of professional hockey, intermissions were much shorter than they are today. Before the NHL was even formed, games would typically only have a five-minute break at half-time. As the game grew in popularity and became more structured, so did the length of the intermission.
By the 1950s, intermissions were standardized at around 15 to 18 minutes. This allowed players sufficient time to rest and recover before returning to the ice for the next period. It also gave fans ample time to grab refreshments or use the restroom during the breaks in play.
Impact of Television Broadcasting on Intermission Durations
The advent of television broadcasting greatly influenced the length of intermissions in hockey. In order to make room for commercials and other advertisements, broadcasters began pushing for longer breaks in play.
Networks such as CBC in Canada and NBC in the US started extending intermissions to 20 minutes or more by the 1970s. This enabled them to fit in more ads without disrupting the flow of the game too much. However, this change did not come without opposition from the league and some fans who felt that the additional downtime interrupted the rhythm of the game.
Proposed Changes to Intermission Lengths in Hockey
In recent years, there has been talk about cutting intermission lengths for various reasons. Some argue that shorter breaks could help speed up overall game length. Others point out that it could help players stay more engaged mentally, reduce injuries and increase the quality of play.
Any changes to intermission lengths would need to be carefully considered. Coaches might need additional time to make tactical adjustments during longer breaks. For fans, shorter intermissions might mean less time to hit the concession stands or socialize with friends and family while watching the game in person.
Comparing Intermission Lengths Across Different Eras of Hockey
The length of intermissions has varied across different eras of hockey. Today’s games typically feature 15 to 20-minute intermissions but this was not always the case.
For instance, in the NHL era between 1917 and 1932, intermissions were around five minutes long. During WWII, they were extended to 10 minutes because many players went off to serve in the military. By 1952, intermissions had increased to 18 minutes before being standardized in the 1970s at around 20 minutes for television broadcasting purposes.
“It’s a balancing act. Some people want shorter breaks to keep the game moving quickly, while others appreciate the chance to relax during halftimes.” -NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Intermission lengths have changed throughout the history of professional hockey. Factors such as television broadcasting and player safety have influenced the duration of these pauses in play over the years. Although there are arguments on both sides about whether intermissions should be made longer or shorter, current games typically feature 15-20 minute pauses in play which allows sufficient time for rest, refreshments and strategic planning.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the standard length of intermissions in professional hockey games?
The standard length of intermissions in professional hockey games is 18 minutes. During this time, players leave the ice to rest and rehydrate, while the ice is resurfaced and the Zamboni machine cleans up any debris.
Do intermissions vary in length depending on the level of the game being played?
Intermissions can vary in length depending on the level of the game being played. For example, in college hockey, intermissions are typically 15 minutes, while in junior hockey leagues, they can be as short as 12 minutes. However, in professional leagues, the standard length of 18 minutes is generally followed.
Are there any specific activities or events that occur during intermissions in hockey?
During intermissions in hockey, there are often a variety of activities and events that occur to keep the crowd entertained. These can include contests, giveaways, and even performances by local bands or dance groups. Some arenas also have interactive games or activities for fans to participate in during the intermission.
What are the benefits of having intermissions in a hockey game?
Intermissions provide a break for players to rest and recover, which can help prevent injuries and fatigue. They also give fans a chance to stretch their legs, grab a snack or drink, and use the restroom. Additionally, during intermissions, there are often entertaining activities and events that keep fans engaged and excited for the remainder of the game.
Are there any rules or penalties associated with intermissions in hockey?
There are no specific rules or penalties associated with intermissions in hockey. However, teams must adhere to the allotted time for intermissions. If a team takes longer to get back on the ice than the allotted time, they can be assessed a delay of game penalty. Additionally, players are not allowed to warm up on the ice during intermissions.