As an avid NHL fan, you know that a hockey game is not just about the action on the ice. The intermission serves as a crucial break for players to refuel and recover, while also providing entertainment for fans in attendance or watching from home.
But have you ever wondered how long an NHL intermission actually is?
“In the NHL, there are two intermissions per game and each one lasts 18 minutes.”
This may seem like a short amount of time, but it’s enough for teams to regroup and strategize before heading back onto the ice for another intense period of play.
Knowing the length of an intermission can also help you plan your viewing experience, whether it’s getting up to grab some snacks or taking a quick bathroom break.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the importance of intermissions in NHL games, explore what happens during this time, and share some fun facts about intermission activities.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about what happens during those 18-minute breaks in NHL games!
Official NHL Intermission Length
The Standard Intermission Length
The standard intermission length for an NHL game is 17 minutes. This means that players and coaches have about a quarter of an hour to take a break from the ice, rehydrate, refuel, and regroup before heading back out for the next period.
This 17-minute break is consistent throughout the entire regular season, as well as in the playoffs. However, during outdoor games such as the Winter Classic or Stadium Series, the league has shortened the intermissions by a few minutes due to logistical challenges and weather concerns.
How Long is an NHL Intermission?
An official NHL intermission lasts for 17 minutes, but the actual time can vary slightly depending on the circumstances. For instance, if there is an injury late in a period and the clock runs out during the stoppage, the intermission might be extended for a couple of minutes to allow medical staff to attend to the injured player.
Additionally, national television broadcasts are allowed to extend the intermissions by a couple of minutes to fit in commercials and analysis. These extensions are usually not noticeable to fans inside the arenas since they occur only during broadcasted games.
Why is the NHL Intermission 17 Minutes?
The reason why the NHL intermission is 17 minutes long dates back to the early days of professional hockey. As Hockey Hall of Fame writer John Bower explains, “seventeen minutes was found to be just enough time to get the teams off the ice so the building crew could clean up the snow shavings with shovels, scrape the surface with big heavy elephant feet sledges, then run over it zambonis until it was glistening like a sheet of glass.”
Even though zambonis have since replaced the manual labor involved in resurfacing the ice, the 17-minute length has remained out of tradition and practicality. This time frame allows for a sufficient break without prolonging the game too much.
History of the NHL Intermission Length
The length of time allowed for intermissions during NHL games has varied over the years. During the league’s early seasons, there was no standard for the length of breaks between periods. Games featured anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes of intermission time, depending on various factors.
In the mid-1930s, teams began using electric motors to power their ice scrapers. This innovation enabled crews to resurface the ice more quickly than previous manual methods. As a result, intermissions could be shortened while still leaving enough time for maintenance tasks.
The NHL finally standardized its intermission policy in the late 1960s. At that point, all games were given 15 minutes of resting period. Eventually, this was increased to 17 minutes in the 1990s, where it remains to this day.
“The timing of an intermission is not randomly made up.” -John Bower
The NHL intermission serves as an essential component of every game by providing players with a brief reprieve from the ice and allowing stadium crews to maintain the playing surface. While the official length of intermissions may vary from other hockey leagues and organizations, it is clear that the 17-minute duration has become a time-honored part of the sport’s history and traditions.
Why Do NHL Games Have Intermissions?
Rest and Recovery for Players
NHL games can be physically demanding, with players moving quickly on the ice and engaging in hard-hitting collisions. To ensure that they remain fresh and energized throughout each game, intermissions are provided to allow them to rest and recover.
During an NHL game, players are continuously exerting themselves for 45-60 seconds during their shifts. With typical shifts lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, these frequent bursts of intense physical activity can cause fatigue and exhaustion over time.
The duration of an NHL intermission is typically 17 minutes long, providing players with ample time to rehydrate, catch their breath, and recharge before returning to the ice.
“In a sport where guys are expected to go all out for short periods of time over and over again, we definitely need those breaks to help us recover properly,” -Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler
Entertainment for Fans
In addition to giving players a break, intermissions also provide fans with entertainment between periods of play. During this time, various forms of entertainment are offered, including interactive fan experiences, team merchandise sales, and performances by mascots or cheerleaders.
This period also provides fans with the opportunity to head to the concessions stand to grab food or drinks, use the restroom, or simply stretch their legs. This helps keep fans refreshed and engaged throughout the entirety of the game.
A consistently positive and entertaining experience at hockey games has helped make the NHL one of the most popular sports leagues around the world, generating millions of dollars in annual revenue as a result of ticket sales and sponsorships.
“Intermissions should be enjoyable for fans because it gives them an opportunity to be entertained during a break in action,” -Sports broadcasting expert Tim Nekritz
Time for Strategy and Adjustments
The NHL’s intermission period also provides coaches with ample time to make necessary adjustments to their team’s strategy after each period of play. These breaks allow coaches to review game footage, analyze player performances, and adjust lineups as needed.
In addition, players often use this downtime to discuss tactics and plays amongst themselves and receive valuable feedback from their coaching staff. This can help improve the overall performance of a team in subsequent periods of the game.
The set duration of the intermissions also allows teams to stick to a well-planned routine that is focused on sustainability and maintaining optimal energy levels between each period of play.
“Intermissions provide teams with an important opportunity to regroup and refocus heading into the next period. Teams that do not take advantage of this time could find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to making essential strategic decisions and communicating effectively with one another.” -NHL analyst Greg WyshynskiOverall, the importance of NHL intermissions cannot be overstated. By providing players with critical rest and hydration, giving fans a chance to be entertained, and allowing for crucial tactical discussions by coaches and players alike, intermissions have become an integral part of NHL games around the world.
What Happens During an NHL Intermission?
An intermission is a break in the action during a hockey game where players and fans alike can take a moment to catch their breath. In the NHL, there are two 17-minute intermissions that separate three periods of play. But what exactly happens during these breaks? Let’s take a closer look.
Zamboni Ice Resurfacing
The most well-known activity during an NHL intermission is likely the Zamboni ice resurfacing. This machine creates a smooth, fresh sheet of ice for the players to skate on during the next period. The process takes about 10 minutes and involves removing the layer of shaved ice from the previous period using a scraper blade and collecting it in a bin attached to the machine.
A water tank on the Zamboni then sprays hot water onto the ice surface while the squeegee collects any excess moisture. Finally, the Zamboni applies a thin layer of hot water which freezes quickly and smooths out imperfections on the ice.
“The whole idea behind the Zamboni is to maintain the best possible skating surface,” says Dan Craig, NHL Senior Director of Facilities Operations. “The last thing we want our players to be thinking about when they step on the ice is anything other than the game itself.”
Player Warm-ups and Stretching
While the Zamboni is doing its job, players head into their locker rooms for quick refreshment and to stretch out before the next period begins. They might engage in light exercise or do some stretching to help prevent injury and prepare themselves mentally for the upcoming session of play.
Players drink fluids like water or sports drinks to maintain hydration levels and consume energy-boosting snacks, such as bananas or granola bars, to get a quick burst of energy. Finally, they re-tape their sticks or equipment if necessary before heading back onto the ice.
“We usually have around 15 minutes in the locker room,” says Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog. “The first thing I do when I go back inside is take off my stuff and get some fluids into me… it’s important to stay hydrated.”
Coach and Player Meetings
During intermission, coaches may call players together for brief meetings, typically held in the team dressing rooms adjacent to the rink. These meetings help players focus on strategic adjustments that may need to be made during the next period of play, such as how to capitalize on weaknesses in the other team’s defense.
Coaches might show video clips to players to reinforce teaching points for strategic plays or defensive formations, or they might make changes to line combinations based on performance in the previous period to maximize success. Players are also provided with water, sports drinks, and simple carbohydrates like fruit or energy bars during these meetings.
“What we’re looking for in those 15 minutes between periods is an opportunity to reset our focus and remind ourselves of what we’re trying to accomplish out there,” says Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “During games, information comes very quickly so those breaks are critical.”
NHL intermissions aren’t just about taking a break from game action; they are a crucial part of ensuring high-quality gameplay throughout each session of play. During the two 17-minute intermissions, Zamboni machines resurface the ice while players eat snacks, drink liquids, and stretch. Coaches use this break to strategically adjust tactics and lineup adjustments, which can significantly impact winning outcomes.
How Do NHL Teams Use Intermissions to Their Advantage?
Adjusting Strategies and Tactics
NHL teams use the intermission that separates every period of the game to discuss their strategy on the ice. These 15-minute breaks offer coaches the opportunity to analyze their team’s performance and make adjustments based on their opponent’s playstyle.
The coaches usually re-evaluate the lines they have put out, focusing on top-performing players who can bring a change in the scoreline or help maintain it. The coaching staff may decide to adjust their offensive tactics and defensive strategies for each line based on the progress made in the previous period.
Reviewing Game Footage
In today’s era of advanced technology, analyzing game footage has become much easier and faster. Coaches often take a closer look at the mistakes they made during gameplay by reviewing video clips of the period using specialized software. This process helps them evaluate individual player performances, studying habits such as skating patterns and shooting locations. Such insights allow the team to work together towards their winning objective.
“We review all our shifts to see what we’re doing well, where we’ve had success, spots on the ice we want to get back to … you’re just trying to do anything you can to be prepared.” -Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar
Communicating with Players
Intermissions provide an ideal opportunity for NHL coaches to communicate with their players. They have a chance to give positive feedbacks and address any errors made throughout the game so far. Even though time is limited, coaches may choose to talk to particular players individually to encourage or motivate them and evoke confidence within the ranks. Since lines change frequently, this is the best time to regroup, catching up on missed chances and ironing out any wrinkles in communication.
“When you’re taking during the game, it’s difficult to capture everyone. Occasionally a quick exchange is better than full-blown conversation,”-Former Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau
Rest and Recovery for Injured Players
The breaks between each NHL period are instrumental when handling situations where players may have sustained injuries or require rest. When required, medical personnel check up on injured players, evaluating their condition and providing treatment as necessary. NHL teams work with doctors who compile performance metrics that show signs of stress before it leads to significant injury, allowing them to advise proper rest periods.
This time also provides an opportunity for physically fit players to take a moment off the ice to refuel using specialized nutrient-rich supplements to boost energy levels in continuous games with short intervals. Hydration is also crucial in keeping players alert and prevent fainting due to excessive fatigue from flying pucks and body checks constantly.
Intermissions play a crucial role in every NHL game, providing coaches and players alike with the space needed to adjust tactics, review gameplay footage while boosting relaxation and recovery for the team members. With such advantages of these pauses, we can see how they benefit the army of dedicated athletes working hard to win every game reaching the ultimate goal – The Stanley Cup!
Are There Any Exceptions to NHL Intermission Length?
The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the most popular sports leagues in North America. The league is known for its fast-paced games that feature high-scoring action and plenty of exciting moments. But how long is an NHL intermission, and are there any exceptions to this rule? Let’s take a closer look.
When it comes to regular season games, NHL intermissions typically last around 17 minutes between each period. However, when there is overtime involved in a game, there are some exceptions to this rule.
In the playoffs or postseason games, the length of the intermission changes slightly. During overtimes, teams get two-minute breaks during intermissions instead of the usual 17 minutes during regular season matches. These shorter intermissions help keep fans interested and allow players to refresh themselves faster without getting too cold while waiting for play to resume.
During normal intermissions, both home and away teams will go back to their respective locker rooms with the playing surface cleared. When a game goes into sudden death, there is no extended break between periods, so players on the ice must continue playing until someone scores. Once a goal is scored, teams can switch ends and begin another sudden-death period.
All-Star Game Intermissions
Another exception to NHL intermission lengths happens during the All-Star Game, which takes place once per year. The game itself has three 20-minute periods, with intermissions lasting about 18 minutes after each period. In addition to featuring more goals and less physical contact compared to typical games, the All-Star Game also includes other events such as skills competitions and celebrity appearances during its intermissions.
It’s worth noting that the time of year can also play a role in the length of intermissions during regular-season games. When outdoor ice rinks are used for special events like the Winter Classic or Stadium Series, the longer intermission between periods gives players more time to get warm and stay ready for an extended game on ice that often requires additional maintenance and preparation.
“In order to maintain high-quality playing conditions during our outdoor games, we’ll need extra time to resurface the ice,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Allowing additional time will allow us to accomplish this goal.”
NHL intermissions usually last around 17 minutes per period. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as overtime periods which only have two-minute breaks instead of the typical 17-minute intermissions. The All-Star Game also features longer intermissions at about 18 minutes between each period, while outdoor games require longer intermission durations due to ice maintenance requirements. Regardless of the event or circumstance, intermissions offer players a chance to rest, coaches time to adjust tactics and plays, and fans a break to grab some snacks and refreshments before rooting for their team’s victory.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Standard Length of an NHL Intermission?
The standard length of an NHL intermission is 17 minutes. This break occurs between the second and third periods of a game. During this time, players will rest, rehydrate, and refuel for the remainder of the game. Fans will also have time to grab refreshments and use the restroom facilities.
Can NHL Intermissions Be Extended?
Yes, NHL intermissions can be extended in certain circumstances. If there is a technical issue with the ice, such as a broken Zamboni, the intermission may be extended to allow for repairs. Additionally, if there is a special event or ceremony planned, such as a retirement ceremony or a performance, the intermission may be extended to accommodate the event.
What Happens During an NHL Intermission?
During an NHL intermission, players will rest, rehydrate, and refuel for the remainder of the game. Coaches may also use this time to make adjustments to their game plan or to give their players a pep talk. Fans will have the opportunity to grab refreshments and use the restroom facilities. Sometimes, there may also be special events or performances during the intermission.
How Do NHL Teams Use Intermissions to Their Advantage?
NHL teams use intermissions to their advantage in a variety of ways. Coaches may use the time to make adjustments to their game plan or to give their players a pep talk. Players will also have the opportunity to rest, rehydrate, and refuel for the remainder of the game. Additionally, teams may use the intermission to regroup mentally and emotionally, especially if they are trailing in the game.
What Is the Longest NHL Intermission on Record?
The longest NHL intermission on record occurred during a game between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens on March 13, 1943. The game was delayed due to a power outage, and the intermission lasted for approximately 50 minutes. When play resumed, the Canadiens went on to win the game 5-1.