How Many Periods In Womens Olympic Hockey? [Updated!]

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The Winter Olympics are coming! Who hasn’t been swept away by the Olympic spirit already? Every four years, the best hockey players in the world come together to battle it out on the ice. This year, the Winter Olympic Games will be held in South Korea, and there will be a special hockey tournament featuring 12 countries. As we await the start of the tournament, it’s a good idea to look back at the format and determine how many periods there are in the competition. Let’s take a quick look at how hockey is played at the Olympics, shall we?

The Different Stages Of Hockey

The first thing you need to know about hockey is that it is a very game-changing sport. It is not only about scoring goals, but also about playing a huge role in dictating the pace of the game. Teams can be very offensive, and the opposition can counterattack in a hurry. This makes it extremely exciting to watch the game unfold, but also very tricky to predict at the end of each period.

The first period of a hockey game is generally considered the ‘offense’ or ‘attack’ period. During this time, teams will try to outscore their opponents, or in other words, convert more shots on goal into goals. This is typically the quickest period in hockey, and teams are judged on how well they perform in this phase. If you’re a fan of speed and agility, this is the best period to be in. If you’re a fan of power, grab a beer and settle in for the action-packed second period.

The Two-Minute Rule

One of the most unique things about the Winter Olympic Games is that each team gets two minutes of actual play time per period. For those of you who are unfamiliar, two minutes in hockey is a lot! It’s essentially three minutes of play, because each team gets two minutes of stoppage time at the end of each period. This is an innovation that was implemented to promote better gameplay and increase scoring. Before the implementation of the two-minute rule, teams would routinely hold onto the puck for almost the entire game, effectively putting the ball in the opponents’ court. With the two-minute rule, teams are forced to enter the attack mode sooner, and the pacing of the game changes accordingly. This is a huge positive for fans of the sport, as well as players themselves. For anyone still awake, the third period is when the real games begin, and the action slows down to a crawl as the clock inches closer to zero.

Seven-Minute Overtime

Overtime is always seven minutes long in the NHL, and the same goes for the Olympics. During the closing ceremonies, the winning teams from each of the games will have a chance to celebrate by hoisting the gold medal over their heads. However, if the score is still tied after seven minutes, there will be a sudden-death overtime period, and the first team to score wins. This was introduced in 2006 as a means of promoting scoring, and until then, sudden death had not been part of Olympic hockey. The new format has worked, and in the 2007 games, there were four overtime periods, not three, which makes for a much more exciting conclusion to each game. The sudden-death overtime was again implemented for the 2015 games, but not for the previous two Winter Olympics. The longest game in Olympic history was played in the 2010 Vancouver games, and it went into quadruple overtime before being decided. The fans were treated to one of the most exciting hockey games they had ever seen, and it’s safe to say that overtime has become one of the staples of the Olympic schedule. The closing ceremonies are often followed by a ten-minute standing ovation, as the fans show their appreciation for the athletes who fought so hard for that precious gold.

The Three-Periods-In-One-Game Format

What if we told you that during one of the most prestigious sporting events of the year, you could see three periods in one game? That’s right – the Winter Olympic Games have decided to go the extra mile and implement a unique three-periods-in-one-game format. The idea behind the format is to have shorter breaks between the three periods, so the audience can remain engaged throughout the whole game. This may seem like a tall order, but it allows for a more dynamic and action-packed hockey experience. In the 2012 Olympic Winter Games, each game was started with just under ten minutes of play in the first period, followed by nearly thirty minutes of action in the second and third periods. To start each period, players from both teams change sides, and the opposing captain is recognized around the ice prior to the playing of the national anthems. This format has been met with rave reviews, with many praising the innovation and shortening of the games, which makes it a perfect fit for the 24-hour Internet world.

The Importance Of Puck Management

One of the most important things to keep in mind about the Olympics is the fact that they are played on a ice surface. This means that all five players on the ice must possess a hockey stick. While this may not seem like a big deal, hockey players will tell you that without the right equipment, your game simply won’t be the same. Pucks will behave differently than they do on other surfaces, and it will seriously impact your game. Despite this, some players choose to play without a puck, which is absolutely ludicrous. You shouldn’t have to rent equipment to play a hockey game. This could seriously hurt your wallet, as well as ruin your fun.

Pucks will bounce differently off the ice, and it will be much easier for players to handle them. This doesn’t mean that you have to use pucks in order to play hockey, but it just means that you should definitely consider adding them to your collection.

The Growth Of The Games

Each Winter Olympics has gotten longer and longer, with the length of the games increasing incrementally each time. This makes it increasingly more difficult to determine when each period is going to end. As you may suspect, this is mostly done to allow for more hockey, and the format practically forces this on the teams. In the 1920 Summer Olympics, there were only two ice hockey games – now there are 28. The same goes for the Winter Olympics – in 1920, there were only seven hockey games, and the Winter Olympics has continued to grow ever since.

The Timing Of The Games

Speaking of the length of the games, it’s important to note that not only do they grow longer with each iteration, but they are also held later and later. This is due to a variety of factors, but mostly because of changes to the Summer Olympics schedule, which now occupies three months instead of two. The timing of the games is also ever-changing, as the NHL and other leagues do their best to keep the momentum going during the season, so that when the Winter Games come around, they are ready to rumble.

The Audience

Hockey is one of the most popular winter sports, which makes it a bit easier to determine how many people are likely to be at the games. According to Wikipedia, “over 13 million viewers tuned in to watch the 2002 Winter Olympics, which put it well above the estimated audience of 11.8 million for the 2002 MLB World Series (AL Championship) and 2010 Australian Open.” While the United States dominates the overall viewership, with 18 million viewers, hockey is a sport that really does span all seven continents. Fans can now be found in every country, and the popularity of the sport would certainly explain the United States’ incessant promotion of it via its enormous media presence.

Final Takeaway

Overall, it’s pretty clear that we’re in the midst of a puck-generation, and it’s only getting more exciting to watch and play with each passing year. The Winter Olympics are always one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, and with three periods in one game, it looks to be even more exciting this year. With each iteration of the games getting longer and later, and the popularity of the sport growing, it may be a good idea to start collecting pucks now, so that when the Winter Games come around, you’ll be ready to play.

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