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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The great ol’ hockey game. It’s the ideal game you can name. And also so on.

You are watching: How long does a nhl hockey game last

If you room a brand-new hockey fan (and if so, welcome come the club!) friend may have some questions. One of them may be what type of time commitment you space making once you sit down to watch hockey.


How lengthy is the NHL game going come take?

Well, the depends, yet let’s obtain into answering the an easy question of how long a hockey video game is.

National Hockey League video game Time

RELATED: How many Periods room in a Hockey Game?

Now, we need to note that ice hockey gamings happen almost everywhere the world. Us aren’t talking around your neighborhood beer league right here or the roller hockey organization you play in through your friend in high school.

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

So let’s talk about regulation time.

During the constant season and the playoffs, the regulation time of an NHL game is 60 minute of video game time. This hour of hockey action is divided into 3 20-minute periods. Now, in the an extremely early work of NHL history, they used two periods of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking end a century ago. Everybody alive today has only well-known an NHL with three periods of 20 minutes throughout regulation.

Ah, yet they don’t simply play three periods of unceasing action. This isn’t soccer, and even soccer has actually a halftime. There room stoppages in every duration of NHL action.


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

After the an initial and second periods, NHL teams are provided with a 17-minute intermission. This is not merely to offer players a chance to rest and goalies a opportunity to acquire off your feet because that a few. During intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice cream smoother and fresher. We don’t require pucks bouncing and also skates getting caught in ruts.

Don’t expect a video game to always end together the horn blows ~ above the third period. If the teams room tied at the end of regulation, we’re headed to overtime. The NHL provides a five-minute overtime duration during the regular season. Oh, and also this is sudden-death overtime, by the way, which method if a team scores, lock win.

The NHL’s overtime rules have changed a little over the years. First, it supplied to it is in five-on-five, then it became four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really wishes to end games during the five minutes that extra time.

For many years, if a game was tied ~ overtime, the was the end of the game. Both teams got one suggest for a tie, and that was 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, the usually just lasts for a few minutes, as teams rarely gain through the first three shooters they select to begin a shootout.


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

The Stanley Cup Playoffs

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

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

In the postseason, overtimes space 20 minute of sudden-death hockey played at five-on-five. If the game is tho tied, we get another 20-minute overtime, and also so on and so forth till somebody scores.

It’s experienced hockey at its finest.

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If you are figured out to watch an NHL playoff game until that conclusion, you’d much better be all set to it is in in for the lengthy haul. The longest playoff game in NHL background took place in 1936 as soon as the Detroit Red Wings to win the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It got in a whopping 6 overtimes and a total game time that 176 minutes and 30 seconds.