From every the significant league sports in phibìc America and worldwide, hockey unique divides increase its play time.

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For basketball and also football, leagues are break-up into 4 quarters, while soccer is separated into 2 halves and baseball into 9 innings. In addition, every of this sports has actually their own means of stable tie games, and also hockey is no exception.

How many periods are in a hockey game?

There are 3 durations in a hockey game consisted of of 20 minutes each (or 60 minute total). If the score is tied after sixty minutes, the game will extend to a 5-minute overtime period followed by a shootout. During the playoffs, teams will play sudden-death overtime to clear up a tie which is additionally made increase of 20-minute periods.


Were NHL hockey games always 3 periods long?

NHL games were not always 3 durations long. Prior to the 1910-11 season, NHL games were comprised of 2 x 30-minute durations (source).

The main reason why gamings were separated into 3 periods had to carry out with the high quality of the ice for the players. The NHL decided it would be more beneficial come resurface the ice v the Zamboni every 20 minutes quite than 30 minutes. The an ext you pat on an ice surface, there will certainly be build-up of eye and greater potential because that grooves and also ice chips to build as that softens.

Actually, the buildup of snow causes the video game to sluggish down as the puck cannot take trip as smoothly because of the greater amount of friction. Furthermore, the grooves can reason players to slow down in addition to the overall speed of the game.

Ice chips have the unfortunately potential of causing serious injuries to players. In ~ minimum, the ice cream chips can cause players come unexpectedly pilgrimage to the ice. And much more seriously, a player’s skate deserve to get captured in the groove or chip leading to severe foot injuries (sprains or torn ACLs/MCLs, etc.).

Keep in mind that although periods are every 20 minute long, the really time players invest on the ice each duration is about 40-45 minute in real-time. This consists of all the stoppages in between plays such as from penalties, goals, injuries, time-outs and also more.

The NHL presented intermissions between periods to resurface the ice, beginning at 10 minute long. Eventually, the intermissions got to 17-minutes long killing number of birds with one stone:

Resurfacing that the ice

As discussed earlier, the intermission time is provided to resurface the ice for optimal play conditions.

Player Breaks and Team Regroup

Players and coaches are returned to their respective dressing rooms so they deserve to basically remainder up in between periods. In addition, the team coaches comment on strategies to readjust the food of the game and also regroup their players.

Spectator Breaks: Food, Beverages and Bathroom

Audience members have the right to use the time to restock up on food and also beverages as the game length in real-time is 2.5+ hours long. Since many spectators gain drinking alcoholic beverages, the need for the bathroom break is essential. If you’ve ever before attended any type of sporting event, particularly a hockey game, the toilets get very packed throughout the breaks.


For viewers watching the game at home, the league uses the intermissions to advertise their sponsors through commercials. This is in enhancement to the reserved TV timeouts throughout each period.

Audience members are also subject to advertisements on the main scoreboard throughout the intermission pauses. Relying on the venue, the league will use the intermission time to launch cost-free t-shirts come spectators or provide out freebies indigenous the rafters (or remote-controlled blimps) from in-house sponsors.

Can a hockey video game last longer than 3 periods?

NHL and also other professional league gamings can certainly last much longer than 3 durations (also well-known as regulation time). As stated earlier, if the game is tied after ~ 60 minutes (3 periods) that play, the video game will head to overtime.

In the regular season, over there is a 5-minute overtime throughout which groups play 3-on-3. If the game is quiet tied after overtime, the game is cleared up through a shootout session. It need to be detailed that the ice is not resurfaced any time after the third period.

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In the playoffs, the rules room slightly different as games are made decision by sudden death overtime. The is, the video game can only be resolved once either team scores the next and also deciding goal. Therefore, the groups are went back to their dressing rooms adhering to the 3rd and every subsequent period for a 15 and a half minutes intermission. The overtime durations are also 20 minutes long and also are play 5-on-5.