How Long Does A Game Of Ice Hockey Last? Discover The Answer Here

Spread the love

Ice hockey is one of the most exciting and fast-paced sports in the world, played by millions of people around the globe. If you’re new to this sport or just curious about its rules, one question that may come to your mind is: How long does a game of ice hockey last?

The answer depends on various factors such as the level of play, the league, and the age group. However, there are some general guidelines that can give you an idea of how long a typical game lasts.

In this article, we’ll explore the duration of a standard ice hockey game, including the different periods, breaks, and overtime rules. Whether you’re a fan of ice hockey or someone who wants to learn more about it, you’ll find useful information here that will help you understand the game better.

“Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other and pulling in the same direction to be successful.” – Wayne Gretzky

So, let’s dive in and discover the answer to “How Long Does A Game Of Ice Hockey Last?”

Understanding The Basic Rules Of Ice Hockey

The Objective Of The Game

The objective of ice hockey is to score more goals than your opponent. A goal is scored when the puck, a hard rubber disc, goes into the opposing team’s net. Each team has six players on the ice at any given time, one goaltender and five skaters.

The game consists of three periods, each lasting 20 minutes. If the game is tied after regulation, it goes into overtime, where the first team to score wins the game. In playoffs, if the game is still tied after the first overtime period, additional periods are played until a winner is determined.

The Equipment Used In Ice Hockey

Ice hockey requires protective equipment due to the physical nature of the sport. Players wear helmets with cages or visors to protect their faces from injury. They also wear shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin guards, gloves, and skates.

Goaltenders have additional equipment, including a heavily padded chest protector, leg pads covering most of their legs, blocker, trapper, and a mask that covers their entire face.

“A goalie likes to feel comfortable out there, kind of in control.” – Henrik Lundqvist, professional hockey player

The stick used in ice hockey is made of wood or composite materials and can vary in length depending on the player, although there are regulations for maximum size. Goaltenders use a larger stick to help cover the net. The puck must be made of vulcanized rubber and meet certain weight requirements as well.

Knowing these basic rules of ice hockey will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the game, whether you’re watching from home or joining a local league.

The Duration Of A Standard Ice Hockey Game

Ice hockey is a fast-paced and physically demanding sport played on ice between two teams of six players each. The game involves plenty of physical contact, high-speed skating, stickhandling skills, and a lot of action happening constantly on the rink.

If you’re planning to watch an ice hockey game in person or on television, it’s natural to wonder how long this exciting match lasts. Here’s what you need to know:

Three 20-Minute Periods

The regular duration of an ice hockey game is three 20-minute periods with a total gameplay time of 60 minutes. Each team switches sides after every period, so they play from both ends of the arena throughout the game.

During the first and second periods, there are usually no commercial breaks except for penalty penalty discussions or injuries. Both teams have five players each during normal play – one goaltender, two defensemen, and three forwards trying to score goals using the puck and sticks.

In contrast, while the third period typically plays out like the first two, sports entertainment platform realsport101 says that “It’s worth noting that if the scores are tied at the end of regulation time, a sudden-death overtime session with a five-minute run will be used to determine the winner.”

15-Minute Intermissions

A full game of ice hockey also includes three short intermissions (breaks) – each lasting 15 minutes. During these break times, fans can grab some snacks and refreshments while players hydrate and get ready for the next round.

After the first period, the teams take their first break followed by another break after the second period. The final break happens before the start of the third period.

Stoppage Time

In some cases, the game may be put on hold or delayed due to injury time-outs for players streaks. Stoppage times are used to extend playing time and give teams a chance to catch up with their opponents if they need to


Dave Lozo of sports and entertainment media outlet Bleacher Report mentioned that:”If you want to sit in your seats for all stoppages just like being there, expect to invest three hours in a local broadcast and more than three-and-a-half on national coverage.”

Television Timeouts

Another potential extension to gameplay length is television timeouts – added breaks mandated by broadcasting networks airing the game. These timeouts usually happen during intense game situations where advertisers recognize an opportunity to market their products.

While television timeouts aim to drive revenue from advertisement placements, Forbes reports that “Ice hockey games without commercial interruption have been known to take under two hours to complete,” which could be the perfect window for those looking to turn this into a leisurely afternoon activity”

“Every kid dreams about playing in a Stanley Cup playoff game when they’re growing up. I think every fanatic always expects it to go to overtime…so everyone can watch round-the-clock 4 vs. 4.” -Wayne Gretzky

So, how long does a game of ice hockey last? A standard full-length game lasts around three hours, including three periods of 20-minutes each plus intermissions between them. Depending on the situations mentioned above, additional stoppages and commercials can increase overall game time to more than three-and-a-half-hours.

How Overtime Affects The Length Of An Ice Hockey Game

Ice hockey is one of the most exciting sports in the world, with fast-paced action and heart-stopping drama. But overtime adds an extra layer of excitement to ice hockey games by potentially extending them beyond regulation time. In this article, we will explore how different types of overtime can affect the length of an ice hockey game.

Sudden Death Overtime

Sudden death overtime is a type of overtime period that is played until one team scores a goal. This means that as soon as a team scores, the game is over. Sudden death overtime is often used during playoffs and championship games, where there must be a winner. This type of overtime can make for some nail-biting moments, as both teams fight to score the winning goal.

According to, the average duration of sudden death overtime periods in the NHL is just under eight minutes. However, these periods can go on for much longer if neither team manages to score a goal. For example, the longest sudden-death overtime game in NHL history was between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons in 1936, which lasted for six full periods before Detroit finally scored the winning goal.

Shootout Overtime

If no one scores during sudden death overtime, the game moves into a shootout. During a shootout, each team selects three players who take turns trying to score against the opposing goaltender. Whichever team scores the most goals out of those three attempts wins the game.

A study published on found that the average length of a shootout in the NHL is approximately four minutes. While shootouts are considered exciting because they give individual players the opportunity to shine, they also have their critics who argue that they aren’t a fair way to decide the winner of a game. In fact, some leagues have started eliminating shootouts altogether, including the American Hockey League and the Swedish Hockey League.

Length Of Overtime Periods

The length of an overtime period depends on the league and level of play. In the NHL, sudden death overtime periods are twenty minutes long, while in other leagues such as the KHL in Russia, they are only ten minutes long. NCAA ice hockey games that move into overtime also last for twenty minutes per period.

It’s worth noting that not all levels of ice hockey play overtime periods. Some youth and recreational leagues will simply end games in a tie if neither team has scored enough goals during regulation time.

“Overtime is not our friend right now.” -Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

While overtime can make for thrilling moments in an ice hockey game, it can also add extra stress and fatigue to players who have already been competing at a high level for several hours. As with any sport, managing fatigue and injuries is important to prevent long-term damage and ensure player safety.

Overtime can significantly affect the length of an ice hockey game, with sudden death overtime potentially extending games indefinitely until one team scores a goal. Shootout overtime periods can be shorter but still cause controversy over their legitimacy as a way to determine winners. Ultimately, the length of overtime periods varies depending on the level of play, and teams must manage player fatigue and safety when dealing with longer games.

The Impact Of Penalties On The Game Length

Ice hockey is an adrenaline-fueled sport that has gained global recognition. It’s one of the few sports where referees can assess multiple penalties for breaking rules, and these penalties can have a significant impact on game duration.

Minor Penalties

A minor penalty in ice hockey is typically assessed for minor infractions such as tripping, hooking, holding, or slashing another player with a stick. A minor penalty lasts for two minutes unless a goal is scored by the team with the power play advantage, in which case, the player who committed the infraction may return to the game.

Minor penalties are common in ice hockey games but don’t usually stall gameplay for extended periods. Referees hand out roughly 25–30 minor penalties per game, so it’s easy for players to manage their behavior to avoid a minor infraction. However, if a plater commits too many minor penalties during one game, this will trigger the referee to impose more severe penalties.

Major Penalties

If a player commits a serious infraction, such as deliberately injuring another player in ice hockey, they serve a five-minute major penalty. This type of reprimand significantly impacts both teams since the penalized team must rely on fewer players on the ice for an extended period, while the other enjoys a five-on-four power play advantage.

Major penalties can have a significant impact on the length of the game. They can compound the problem because when a major penalty occurs, the timer starts when the puck drops rather than when the first whistle blows after the infraction. As a result, if there are several start-stops between whistles, this could lead to the prolongation of game time.

Misconduct and Game Misconduct Penalties

When a player receives a misconduct penalty, they get kicked out of the game—forced to sit between their team’s bench. They can not return until the end of the match. Misconducts typically last for ten minutes. On the other hand, a game misconduct ends a players’ day for exceptionally unsportsmanlike conduct or egregious fouling.

If teams begin racking up misconduct penalties towards the tail end of the game, this leads to an extended duration on the timer, potentially adding additional time. Fans sometimes call it “garbage time” because of how long these periods can feel. When these occur together with game delays such as fighting — which in hockey is relatively common — the impact is more significant.

“Penalties don’t just affect the player directly involved; they also cause changes throughout the teammate lineup, so one change has a domino effect.” -Brian Boitano

Penalties are part and parcel of ice hockey games worldwide and often influence game length. However, it’s crucial that referees maintain order while imposing them correctly to prevent unfair advantages from being taken during power plays, delaying long-lasting rules without intent, or extending already long games due to increasing instances of foul play. How long a single game will take is tough to predict, but all fans agree there is nothing better than cheering your favorite team to victory over multiple nail-biting rounds of exhilarating gameplay!

Factors That Can Cause A Game To Be Delayed Or Suspended

Injury To Players

One of the most common reasons why a game of ice hockey may be delayed or suspended is due to player injury. If a player gets injured while playing, it’s not uncommon for play to be stopped so that they can receive medical attention. Depending on the severity of the injury, this delay could last several minutes or even longer.

If you’re watching a live game and notice that play has stopped suddenly, take a look around the rink – there’s a good chance that someone has been hurt and needs help. Injuries can happen at any time during a game, but some players are at higher risk than others. For example, goalies often face pucks flying at high speeds and are therefore more susceptible to head injuries.

Malfunctioning Equipment

Another reason why a game of ice hockey might be delayed or suspended is because of malfunctioning equipment. This can include anything from broken sticks to faulty lighting systems. If an issue arises with any piece of equipment that is crucial to the game (such as the net), play will have to stop until the problem is resolved.

While equipment malfunctions can be frustrating for all involved, they are necessary precautions in order to ensure the safety of everyone on the ice.

Weather Conditions

Finally, weather conditions can also cause games to be delayed or suspended. Ice hockey is usually played indoors, but outdoor games are becoming increasingly popular. If a game is being played outside and unexpected inclement weather occurs (such as heavy snow or rain), officials may need to halt play until the precipitation stops.

Moreover, if the temperature rises above freezing, the ice surface can become too slushy or uneven to play on, making it unsafe for the players. In such cases, officials will typically postpone or suspend a game in order to keep everyone out of harm’s way.

“Injuries are not great, but they do happen, and you have to be prepared for them.” -Mike Modano

While injuries, malfunctioning equipment, and weather conditions can all cause delays or suspensions during an ice hockey game, it’s important to remember that these precautions are taken with player safety in mind. Even if it means waiting a little bit longer for the game to resume, we should all prioritize keeping players safe so that they can continue to enjoy playing this exciting sport for years to come.

How To Enjoy Watching An Ice Hockey Game To The Fullest

Learn The Basic Rules

If you want to fully enjoy watching an ice hockey game, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the basic rules of the sport. This will help you understand what’s going on during the game and why certain things are happening.

At its core, ice hockey is a very simple game: two teams compete to score more goals than the other by shooting a puck into the opposing team’s net while skating around the rink. However, there are several key rules you should know:

  • A game of ice hockey typically lasts three periods, each lasting 20 minutes. There is a 15-minute intermission between the first and second periods, and a 17-minute intermission between the second and third periods.
  • A team can have no more than six players on the ice at once, including the goaltender.
  • Penalties can be assessed for a variety of infractions, such as tripping, hooking, or high-sticking. During a penalty, the penalized player must sit in the penalty box for a set amount of time (usually 2-5 minutes).
  • If a game is tied after three periods, overtime may be played. In regular season NHL games this is only 5 minutes long; if still tied shootout follows.

Learning these basic rules—and keeping them in mind while you’re watching the game—will go a long way towards helping you enjoy the action on the ice!

Get Involved In The Fan Experience

Another great way to get the most out of your experience watching an ice hockey game is to get involved in the fan experience. Whether you’re watching from home or attending a game in-person, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the excitement:

  • Wear your team colors proudly! Show off your team spirit by wearing your team’s jersey, hat or scarf.
  • Cheer on your favorite players and celebrate each goal with enthusiasm.
  • Participate in pre-game rituals such as the national anthem honoring the country where the game is being held or chanting traditions recognized by other fans in attendance.
  • On social media, NHL has several official channels that engage with fans throughout games using hashtags, team themes, polls and trivia questions. You can also join online communities like Reddit’s r/hockey subreddit.

The more connected you feel to the game—in terms of both your support for your team and your engagement with other fans—the more rewarding and enjoyable your experience will be!

“Ice hockey combines speed, precision, strength and strategy — it is truly a unique sport that those who love it are passionate about.” – Wayne Gretzky

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying an ice hockey game to its fullest. Learning the rules, getting involved in the fan experience, and staying engaged during the action on the ice are all key steps towards appreciating this thrilling and exciting sport. So grab some snacks, put on your lucky jersey, and get ready to cheer on your team—let’s go hockey!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical length of an ice hockey game?

The typical length of an ice hockey game is 60 minutes, divided into three periods of 20 minutes each. In between the periods, there are 15-minute breaks for the players to rest and for the ice to be resurfaced. If the game is tied at the end of regulation time, a five-minute sudden-death overtime period is played. If still tied, a shootout follows.

Are there any circumstances that can cause a game of ice hockey to go longer or shorter than usual?

Yes, there are circumstances that can cause a game of ice hockey to go longer or shorter than usual. If there are penalties or injuries that require a stoppage in play, this can add time to the game. Additionally, if the game goes into overtime or a shootout, it will extend the length of the game. However, if there are no major stoppages in play and the game is not tied at the end of regulation time, the game will end in 60 minutes.

How does the length of a professional ice hockey game compare to that of an amateur or youth game?

The length of a professional ice hockey game is the same as an amateur or youth game, which is 60 minutes. However, the rules may vary slightly depending on the level of play. For example, in youth hockey, there may be shorter periods and smaller rinks. Additionally, there may be different rules for checking and penalties depending on the level of play.

What is the duration of each period in a game of ice hockey?

The duration of each period in a game of ice hockey is 20 minutes. In between the periods, there is a 15-minute break for the players to rest and for the ice to be resurfaced. If the game goes into overtime or a shootout, there is a five-minute sudden-death overtime period followed by a shootout if necessary.

Is there any flexibility in the length of a game of ice hockey, or is it strictly regulated by the rules?

The length of a game of ice hockey is strictly regulated by the rules and there is no flexibility. The game is 60 minutes long, divided into three periods of 20 minutes each, with 15-minute breaks in between. If the game goes into overtime or a shootout, there are specific rules and time limits that must be followed. The length of the game is not dependent on the score or any other factors, and must adhere to the rules set forth by the league and governing bodies.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!