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AP Photo/Gerry Broome

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

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If you space a brand-new hockey pan (and if so, welcome come the club!) friend may have some questions. Among them may be what sort of time commitment you are making once you sit under to clock hockey.


How long is the NHL video game going to take?

Well, the depends, but let’s get into comment the basic question of exactly how long a hockey game is.

National Hockey League video game Time

RELATED: How countless Periods are in a Hockey Game?

Now, we must note the ice hockey games happen everywhere the world. Us aren’t talking about your neighborhood beer league here or the roller hockey organization you play in v your girlfriend in high school.

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

So let’s talk about regulation time.

During the constant season and also the playoffs, the regulation time of one NHL game is 60 minute of game time. This hour that hockey action is split into 3 20-minute periods. Now, in the an extremely early days of NHL history, they provided two periods of 30 minutes.

Still, we’retalking over a century ago. Everybody alive today has only recognized an NHL through three durations of 20 minutes during 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 room stoppages in every duration 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 room TV timeouts for commercial breaks. Those are shorter respites. The intermissions room a various story.

After the very first and second periods, NHL teams are provided with a 17-minute intermission. This is not merely to provide players a possibility to rest and also goalies a opportunity to obtain off your feet for a few. Throughout intermissions, Zambonis resurface the rink to make the ice cream smoother and also fresher. We don’t need pucks bouncing and skates getting captured in ruts.

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

The NHL’s overtime rules have changed a little over the years. First, it provided to be five-on-five, then it ended up being four-on-four. Now, it’s three-on-three because the NHL really wishes to end games during the 5 minutes the extra time.

For many years, if a video game was tied after overtime, that was the finish of the game. Both teams obtained one point 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 acquire a shootout. This could, theoretically, critical forever. But, in reality, the usually only lasts because that a couple of minutes, as groups rarely acquire through the first three shooters they pick 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 bit differently.

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

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

It’s professional hockey at its finest.

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If friend are figured out to watch an NHL playoff video game until the conclusion, you’d far better be ready to it is in in because that the lengthy haul. The longest playoff game in NHL background took place in 1936 once the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. It got in a whopping six overtimes and also a total game time that 176 minutes and 30 seconds.