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AP Photo/Nick Wass

Every sport has its idiosyncrasies, and also ice hockey is no different.

You are watching: How many periods does a hockey game have

Part of emerging a sports is comes up v the way the gamings will be structured. Take, for example, soccer, i m sorry is traditionally divided into halves. The NBA and also the NFL have four quarters to their games. Major league Baseball has nine innings, although now doubleheaders are just seven innings.


What about a hockey game, though? just how are NHL gamings structured? There’s regulation time, that course, however a National Hockey League game is not always bound come the temporal limitations of regulation.

So how does the NHL divvy increase its time? and also how deserve to it differ from one ice hockey video game to the next?

How numerous Periods in Hockey?

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The NHL’s regular-season games are divided right into three 20-minute periods. This has been the situation in the NHL, and also in other establishments like IIHF, for rather some time.

Over a century ago, NHL games were separated into two 30-minute halves, yet nobody left lively remembers those days.

After the an initial period comes the very first intermission, which allows the players to remainder in the locker room. However, intermissions room about much more than rest. It’s also the time for the Zamboni to resurface the hockey rink.

Ice skates carry out some real damages to the ice, and a poor-quality rink makes for negative quality place. Normally speaking, the NHL employs a 17-minute intermission. Over there is another intermission ~ the 2nd period, and also if a team is ahead at the end of the third duration the game ends.


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However, if the video game is tied on the scoreboard at the end of regulation climate we gain some overtime.

The NHL’s overtime duration during the constant season is five minutes of sudden death hockey. That means if a team scores first, castle win. Before overtime, the ice surface may obtain a little of a sprucing up yet there is no true intermission.

Over the last pair of decades, the NHL has tweaked the regular-season overtime rules. There supplied to be 5 skaters a side, add to a goalie — just like during regulation play. After ~ a time, the NHL moved to four-on-four overtime.

Why? since if the video game was tied in ~ the finish of the five-minute overtime, that would finish in a tie, and North American sports space adverse come draws. The hope to be four-on-four would certainly lead to much more scoring.

Starting with the 2015-16 NHL season, the league moved come three-on-three overtime. It’s not easy on defensemen or goaltenders, however it yielded much more games determined in sudden death overtime. The league wants that, due to the fact that there space no longer ties in the NHL.

After 5 minutes the overtime in the NHL consistent season they rental a shootout. In an NHL shootout, three hockey football player from every team are preferred to go one-on-one v the opposing goalie.

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If one team scores an ext goals out of those three chances they win. If they space tied, the shootout continues. In the NHL, you should used a different shooter for every attempt till you run out, however in Olympic beat a team is allowed to use a player lot of times.