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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The great ol’ hockey game. It’s the finest game you deserve to name. And so on.

You are watching: How long are professional hockey games

If you space a new hockey pan (and if so, welcome come the club!) friend may have some questions. One of them might be what kind of time commitment you are making when you sit down to watch hockey.


How long is that NHL game going to take?

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

National Hockey League video game Time

RELATED: How many Periods are in a Hockey Game?

Now, we need to note that ice hockey games happen almost everywhere the world. Us aren’t talking about your neighborhood beer league below or the roller hockey league you play in v your girlfriend in high school.

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

So let’s talk around regulation time.

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

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

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


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When a ref blows their whistle, the video 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 various story.

After the an initial and 2nd periods, NHL groups are listed with a 17-minute intermission. This is not simply to offer players a possibility 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 smoother and also fresher. Us don’t require pucks bouncing and skates getting caught in ruts.

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

The NHL’s overtime rules have changed a bit over the years. First, it provided to be five-on-five, climate it ended up being four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really really hopes to finish games during the five minutes the extra time.

For numerous years, if a video game was tied after overtime, the was the finish of the game. Both teams obtained one allude for a tie, and also that was that. The NHL wasn’t satisfied through this, though.

So now, if a video game is tied after overtime, we gain a shootout. This could, theoretically, last forever. But, in reality, it usually only lasts for a couple of minutes, as groups rarely get through the first three shooters they choose 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 know the rules of regular-season games, however the NHL playoffs run a little bit differently.

While a playoff game still is composed of 3 20-minute periods, overtime is a different story.

In the postseason, overtimes are 20 minutes of sudden-death hockey play at five-on-five. If the video game is tho tied, we get another 20-minute overtime, and so on and also so forth until somebody scores.

It’s experienced hockey in ~ its finest.

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If friend are identified to clock an NHL playoff game until its conclusion, you’d far better be prepared to be in for the long haul. The longest playoff game in NHL history took location in 1936 as soon as the Detroit Red Wings to win the Montreal Maroons through 1-0. It entered a whopping six overtimes and also a total game time the 176 minutes and also 30 seconds.