How long do hockey players stay on the ice? A guide to shift lengths

We all have a good grip on the knowledge of the most aggressive and demanded sport, Hockey. In addition to this, it is the only game that includes several shifts of each player on the ice. But what exactly is the Average NHL shift length of each hockey player? Let us look into this.

According to a survey conducted by the National Hockey League, the average NHL team shifts its lines every 47 seconds. This means that on average, a player will spend approximately 47 seconds on the ice at any given time. However, different positions have different shift lengths; A defenseman could stay on the ice for approx 49 seconds whereas the forward player will spend a 46-second shift on the ice.


How well do players shift according to the 45-second rule of thumb?

The 45-second rule of thumb is a way to assess how well players can shift. This means that they should be able to shift in less than 45 seconds, and they should be able to do so consistently.

To measure whether or not a player can shift in less than 45 seconds, they will need two timers: 

  • One-timer that counts down from 45 seconds, and 
  • One-timer that counts up from zero. 

After the first timer reaches zero, players will have until the second timer reaches zero to get their position as close as possible to where it was when the first timer reached zero.

The goal is for players to do this consistently throughout a game. If there are many instances where players don’t shift well within a reasonable amount of time after the initial countdown has begun (i.e. if players take much longer than 45 seconds or fail repeatedly), it could be an indication that the team needs more practice with this skill. It’s also worth noting that not all players will be able to shift well within 45 seconds, some people have faster reactions than others do.

Related Post: What were the First 4 NHL Teams?

What is the shift length for forwards?

The shift length for forwards is the number of seconds it takes for a team to go from one end of the field to the other. The shift length is adjusted by the following rules:

  • If a player touches or controls the ball within 5 seconds after it is released, they are considered to have taken their first touch-on.
  • If a player touches or controls a loose ball within 5 seconds after it is released and there are less than 10 players on each side of them, they are considered to have taken their first touch-on.
  • If there are more than 10 players on each side of a player who has taken their first touch-in, then they will be awarded a penalty kick at the spot where they took that touch-in as soon as all players from both teams are over the halfway line.

Top 5 Forwards average shift lengths

Alex Ovechkin1:00
Patrick Kane0:57
Evgeny Kuznetsov0:57
Nikita Kucherov0:56
Max Pacioretty0:55

How long shift for defensemen?

The length of shifts can vary depending on the position being played at any given moment in time.  For example, hockey defensemen will usually play six-to-eight-minute shifts during penalty kills (which are essentially defensive situations where both teams have already taken penalties). 

  • In terms of defensive players on the ice compared to offensive ones, offensive players tend to cycle through more plays while defensive ones tend to sit back and wait for passes from teammates before moving forward into lanes where they can block.

Top 5 Defensemen’s average shift lengths

Dustin Byfuglien1:02
Ryan Suter0:59
John Carlson0:59
Jacob Trouba0:56
Erik Karlsson0:56

Related post: How fast can ice hockey players skate?

How do special teams affect shift length time?

Special teams have two primary effects on shift length time:

  • First, the number of minutes that a player is on the bench increases as he goes up in position. For example, if a player is a center and sits out his first four shifts, he will have at least four minutes of recovery time before he can play again. But if he is an offensive lineman and sits out his first four shifts, it could be eight or nine minutes before he can get back on the ice.
  • Second, special teams can make it more difficult for coaches to call timeouts during games. If there are no penalties on the ice during a game, then coaches have less reason to use timeouts because they don’t need to stop play to make substitutions. 
  • However, if penalties are being called by one team or another (or both), or if injuries are occurring on the ice (and therefore no penalties), then coaches may want to use their timeouts to get fresh players onto the ice quickly so that their team doesn’t lose momentum or momentum-building opportunities due to injuries or penalties.

While special teams are not always directly responsible for causing a longer shift length, they do affect how long it takes the players on the field before they start playing again after halftime ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do hockey players only stay on the ice for short shifts?

Hockey is a physically demanding sport that requires a high level of stamina and endurance. By limiting the length of shifts, players are able to maintain their energy and perform at their best throughout the game.

What happens if a player stays on the ice for too long?

If a player stays on the ice for too long, they may become fatigued and their performance may suffer. Additionally, they may be penalized for an illegal substitution if they do not leave the ice in a timely manner.

Can players go back on the ice after a shift?

Yes, players can go back on the ice after a shift as long as they have left the ice in a timely manner and there is not an illegal substitution penalty.

How long is a hockey shift typically?

The length of a hockey shift can vary, but it is typically around 45 seconds to 1 minute for forwards, and 1-2 minutes for defensemen.

Conclusion: How long do hockey players stay on the ice?

The shift length is important in the National Hockey League, as it helps to determine many things about the quality of the game, such as how quickly teams get their goals. The NHL has a long history of being very competitive and exciting. The length of each shift can have an impact on this by allowing more time for scoring and less time for players on the ice to rest or recover.

This is important because it allows teams to have enough time to practice certain skills without having to worry about wasting time on other activities. These are some of the most important aspects of hockey, so they must be accounted for when determining how long a shift should be.

Similar Posts