AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The an excellent ol’ hockey game. It’s the best game you deserve to name. And also so on.

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If you room a brand-new hockey pan (and if so, welcome to the club!) girlfriend may have actually some questions. One of them might be what sort of time commitment you are making when you sit down to watch hockey.

How long is the NHL game going come take?

Well, it depends, but let’s acquire into comment the an easy question of just how long a hockey game is.

National Hockey League video game Time

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Now, we must note the ice hockey games happen almost everywhere the world. We aren’t talking about your local beer league here or the roller hockey organization you played in v your friends in high school.

The size of a hockey video game is standardization from one NHL hockey video game down through the minor leagues of the AHL and also ECHL to Olympic hockey and also even v college hockey games.

So let’s talk around regulation time.

During the continual season and also the playoffs, the regulation time of one NHL game is 60 minutes of video game time. This hour of hockey action is divided into three 20-minute periods. Now, in the very early work of NHL history, they supplied two periods of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking end a century ago. Everybody lively today has actually only recognized an NHL v three periods of 20 minutes throughout regulation.

Ah, yet they don’t just play three periods of unceasing action. This isn’t soccer, and also even soccer has a halftime. There are stoppages in every period of NHL action.


When a ref blows your whistle, the game clock stops. In the NHL, three times per period, there are TV timeouts for commercial breaks. Those are much shorter respites. The intermissions space a different story.

After the an initial and 2nd periods, NHL teams are listed with a 17-minute intermission. This is not simply to offer players a chance to rest and goalies a chance to acquire off your feet for a few. During intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice smoother and also fresher. We don’t require pucks bouncing and also skates getting captured in ruts.

Don’t mean a game to constantly end as the horn blows ~ above the 3rd period. If the teams space tied in ~ the end of regulation, we’re top to overtime. The NHL provides a five-minute overtime period during the consistent season. Oh, and also this is sudden-death overtime, by the way, which means if a team scores, lock win.

The NHL’s overtime rules have readjusted a bit over the years. First, it supplied to be five-on-five, then it became four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three due to the fact that the NHL really wishes to end games during the 5 minutes that extra time.

For numerous years, if a game was tied ~ overtime, that was the end of the game. Both teams obtained one suggest for a tie, and also that to be that. The NHL wasn’t satisfied through this, though.

So now, if a game is tied after overtime, we gain a shootout. This could, theoretically, critical forever. But, in reality, that usually only lasts for a few minutes, as groups rarely get through the first three shooters they choose to begin a shootout.

However, in 2014, the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals in a 20-round shootout.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now you know the rules of regular-season games, however the NHL playoffs run a little bit differently.

While a playoff video game still is composed of three 20-minute periods, overtime is a various story.

In the postseason, overtimes room 20 minute of sudden-death hockey play at five-on-five. If the game is still tied, we get one more 20-minute overtime, and also so on and also so forth until somebody scores.

It’s skilled hockey at its finest.

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If girlfriend are established to watch an NHL playoff video game until that is conclusion, you’d better be all set to be in because that the lengthy haul. The longest playoff game in NHL history took place in 1936 as soon as the Detroit Red Wings win the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It got in a whopping six overtimes and a total game time that 176 minutes and also 30 seconds.