If you are a new hockey fan you would be trying to understand each and every rule of the game or even basic things about the game. Having knowledge about all the rules of the game increase the entertainment during the game. You are here with a most commonly asked question: How many time periods are in a hockey game?
In short, a hockey game has 3 time periods. Each of the three hockey periods runs for 20 minutes. Sometimes, when a hockey game is tied at the end it goes overtime. Overtime time is a short period after the 3 complete-time periods of the game.
Some other games are divided into halves and quarters but the hockey game is divided into 3 time periods. So, if you’re curious to learn some factual insights about the hockey time period, let’s discuss these periods in detail below in the article.
How many periods in Ice Hockey?
Every game has its own way of playing and its own rules. Some games are played in halves and some in quarters. But a hockey game is divided into 3 different time periods each of 20 minutes. The 20 minutes period was started in the season of 1910-1911 in the National Hockey Association (NHA).
Before 1910, the hockey game was being played in two halves (two periods) each with 30 minutes time periods. In 1917, the division method was rearranged, and three-time periods of 20 minutes each were introduced. That same 3-period structure is being followed today for a hockey game.
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How long is each period in a Hockey Game?
No, NHL hockey games do not have a 3-period structure always. Before the 1910-1911 seasons, hockey time periods were divided into two periods like many other games. Each half of the game was 30 minutes long.
This structure of the game was changed by National Hockey Association (NHA). In 1917 NHA rearranged the structure of the Hockey game and use a 3-period structure that we use today.
Why was the Hockey game divided into 3-periods?
The reason behind the 3-period division structure of the game was the quality of the ice. During the hockey game resurfacing the ice is essential. Because while playing snow builds up as time passes with an increase in ice chips. Snow and Ice chips will keep increasing as players increase their playtime.
The high amount of snow will cause the game to slow down because the puck cannot move quickly due to the high friction with the ice. The friction causes slows down the game speed badly. Other than this, Grooves and ice chips can push leg, spinal or other injuries. Due to the high friction, a player will not be able to skate properly and fell into the groove or ice.
Although we consider a time period of 20 minutes long but usually players spend more than 20 minutes on the ice including stoppages. One time period might take 40-45 minutes due to penalties, injuries, overtime, and many others. These are the reasons why the NHL decided to decrease the period and Introduce a 3-periods for one hockey game.
What happens after one period?
Now we will discuss what happens after the one-time period of 20 minutes.
Resurfacing of the Ice
After each 20 minutes period, there is an intermission time period. In this intermission most important thing to do is to resurface the ice. Resurfacing the ice will reduce friction and help the players to keep continuing the game.
Player Break and Regrouping of the Team
Players return to their restroom after every time period and take some rest. Coaches of both teams guide their teams and tell them different tricks and strategies. Finally, they regroup the players and prepare them for the next period of the game.
Break for Food and Bathroom
Intermission is essential so that audience can also take some rest, get some snacks and go to the bathroom. Players also take some rest and have some fresh juice and fruits during the break. After this intermission players, as well as the audience, get themselves back with new energy.
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How long is an NHL Hockey game in real-time?
The real regulation time for an NHL is 60 minutes of playing including AHL, ECHL, and the European leagues. NHL is divided into 3 time periods each of which is 20 minutes long. There is also overtime of 5 minutes in case of a tie between two teams at the end of the game.
If the game still remains tied after the overtime shootout will be followed. We think the game takes 60 minutes but actually, NHL takes 2.5 to 3 hours to end. You might be thinking why does NHL take so long to end? The NHL becomes longer than 60 minutes because of penalties, overtime, and extra stops.
What time duration of intermissions between the time periods?
There are two intermission periods each of 17 minutes. The first interval is between the first and second periods and the other is between the second and third periods of the NHL. During this intermission period resurfacing is the most important to do because it prevents slowing down the game and safe players from injuries.
Intermissions are also a part of the game and give equal entertainment as a playing period. In this period you can have snacks and have some rest. In playoffs, the overtime period is also more than in the regular. While off plays overtime periods are 20 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
How long the time period is between the regulation and overtime?
When a tie occurs at the end of the game, the game goes to an overtime period. Usually, there is no intermission time in regular seasons. The play stops for hardly 2 minutes and 5 minutes of overtime starts. If any of the two teams score in a 3-on-3 overtime game will never end. But, in the case when not of the two teams scored high shootout period will start. The shootout will also take 5 minutes to end.
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Length of a game in NHL playoffs
An NHL game almost takes the same time to end in a playoff as a regular game take. But, there is a slight difference in the shootout time period between regular and playoff games. In the regular game period if any team scored high during a shootout that team will be the winner and the game will end.
In the case of playoffs, shootouts cannot decide the winner. A battle between both teams keeps going for 20 minutes or until any team scores high and wins. Therefore, a playoff game can take 4-5 hours to end.
How long does a College Hockey game last?
The college hockey game averagely takes 2.5 hours just like an NHL game. More preciously college hockey games last for almost two hours and 25 minutes. The time of college hockey games can vary depending on the situation. It can last for more than an average time period due to serious injuries, shootouts, and overtime.
Once college hockey started at 7:35 pm and end at 1:30 a.m. because the winner was not determined. That was the longest college game ever in 2015. The game was played by the teams of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Massachusetts.
How many Quarters are in Hockey?
Hockey games are divided into 4 quarters each of which is 15 minutes long. These 4 quarters have 2 breaks in between the first and second quarter and the other between the third and fourth quarter.
Some low-level hockey games are being played in two halves each of 35 minutes. No doubt, mostly hockey is played in two halves at school, college, or even an NHL but some game still has four quarters to play.
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How long is s recreational or Kid’s Hockey game?
The recreational hockey game is for kids to play and has 60 minutes of runtime. In kids, the hockey game clock does not stop even after the whistle. The clock just stops once at the end of the period. The game takes almost 60 minutes to end without any stop between the game. Due to fewer stops game ends in less period time.
The recreational game takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes from start to end including all periods and extra stops as well. If there is any stoppage during the game everyone just wants to start the game again and have a quick end.
Every player prefers to save time and not wait for the puck to the dropdown. Sometimes last few minutes are used for the stoppage to save time for the leading team. Some hockey leagues stop the game for a few minutes to resurface the ice. Resurfacing is essential to save the players from injuries. In this case, the recreational game might take 2 hours or more to end.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Hockey have 3 or 4 Periods?
Yes, the hockey game is divided into 3 time periods each of 20 minutes. There is overtime of 5-minutes if the game is tied. If there is still a tie after the overtime shootout would followed.
Why is Hockey played in 3 Periods?
Prior to 1910, the hockey game was divided into 2 halves each of 30 minutes. This structure of the game causes a quick build-up of snow and slowed down the game. Due to the high amount of snow and friction many players got injured. Therefore, now hockey is played in 3 periods.
How long are the Intermissions in NHL?
NHL breaks are 18 minutes long during the regulation seasons. These intermissions take place between the first and second time period as well as between the third and fourth time period. Intermissions are different for the playoff games. Because winners cannot be determined by a shootout in playoffs and there is a 15-minute long time period after overtime.
What do Hockey players eat after a game?
Hockey players require a good protein diet. So, all players take some protein-rich food for their muscular growth and some carbohydrates for energy. Furthermore, all types of healthy food like nuts, fruits, and vegetables are for their vitamins.
Conclusion: How Many Periods in a Hockey Game?
Every fan of a hockey game wants to know all rules of the game. If you are also one of them you must be wondering about the hockey time period. In how many periods a hockey game is divided? So, simply a hockey game is divided into 3-time periods. Each time period is 20 minutes long.
Overtime is also a time period of 5 minutes used when the game is tied at the end. A hockey game was played in two halves each of 35 minutes. But, this structure of the game was changed to save time and players to get injured.