How Long Is A Hockey Game? Find The Game Times For All The Leagues

How Long is a Hockey Game

The total game play time of a hockey game is 60 minutes, but it will always run for longer. How long a hockey game lasts is determined by a magnitude of factors, ranging from how much stoppage time there’s been during the game to the league and whether the game is televised to whether it’s a regular tournament game or a playoff. Playoffs are the longest hockey games as those cannot end until one team scores a goal. 

Determining how long a hockey game lasts is difficult because even though the in-play time may be capped at the league level, the total game duration for hockey can go for much longer. 

If you’re making plans to support someone at a college game, those games can end in a tie, so you’ll be able to know in advance roughly how long the hockey game is likely to last. But for a televised NHL playoff game, it can go to sudden death and those play for hours. 

How Long Is A Recreational Hockey Game? 

How Long Is A Recreational Hockey Game?

Recreational hockey games are shorter than professional games, and that’s the same for both adult and kids’ recreational hockey. The games generally run between 1hour and 15-minutes and 2 hours. 

A kids’ hockey game is played using runtime rather than factoring in stoppage time. As the clock isn’t constantly starting and stopping, some extra game time is added to the standard 60 minutes. The game will still be played over set periods, but different leagues will have different period durations, such as three 12-minute periods. 

Youth hockey and games with experienced skaters on the ice are likely to need at least one intermission for ice-resurfacing. This usually takes a minimum of 15 minutes. Resurfacing is when a zamboni machine is used to collect snow from the ice and then cleaning it by flooding the surface with water to fill in any grooves and cracks. The faster the players move on the ice, the more snow that accumulates, slowing down the pace of the game. The more experienced the player, the more likely it is they’ll be faster on the ice, which brings them to a stop faster. This can create chips in the ice, which is why it needs to be resurfaced during a game. 

How Long Is An AHL Hockey Game? 

In major and minor leagues, hockey games are played for a total of 60 minutes over three periods, with at least two intermissions, and there’s a possibility for the game to go into overtime. 

How Long Is A Period In Professional Hockey? 

A period lasts for 20 minutes, not accounting for stoppage time. When play stops, the game clock is paused, which happens every time the referee blows the whistle. Instances when the clock stops include when a goal is scored, when the puck is out of play, and for player infractions such as icing. At the end of each period, play stops for an intermission. 

How Many Intermissions Are There In A Hockey Game? 

All professional league games need to have at least two intermissions for ice resurfacing. The NHL playoffs can have more than two intermissions, depending on how many overtime periods are played. 

How Long Are Intermissions? 

Intermissions are at least 15-minutes at the end of the first and second period. In NHL games, the first two intermissions are 15-minutes, 30-seconds. For televised games, intermissions last for 17-minutes. 

How Long Is Overtime? 

Overtime is played for a maximum of five minutes. There is no intermission between the end of regulation play and the start of overtime, but there is stoppage time. In most leagues, it’s two minutes of stoppage time between the end of period three and the start of overtime. The exception is NHL games, which have a one-minute stoppage time between the end of regulation play and the start of overtime. 

Overtime is also called sudden death because the five minutes is a maximum time. The first team to score in overtime wins the game. If scores remain tied after five minutes, it goes to a shootout. The only exception is for NHL playoffs, which do not use shootouts. 

How Long Is Overtime In The Stanley Cup Playoffs?

In NHL playoffs, overtime is played as a regulation period of 20 minutes. There are additional 15-minute intermissions between overtime periods.

What Happens In A Shootout? 

In a shootout, the three players to have played the five-minute overtime period each have one shot at goal. The team to score the most goals wins. If the scores remain tied, the shootout continues until one player scores and the other misses. 

How Long Is A College Game? 

How Long Is A College Game?

College hockey games have 60 minutes of regulation play plus two 15-minute intermissions, one at the end of period one and the other following period two. Unlike in the NHL playoffs that cannot end in a tie, collegiate tournament games can. However, different leagues have different rules for how overtime is played. Some may choose to play a 20-minute overtime period instead of five minutes, and they can also use the shootout to help avoid a tie. 

A change made by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) to increase scoring opportunities is reducing players in overtime play from five-of-five to three-on-three. Prior to the 2020-21 season, this was optional. It’s now the official NCAA Overtime Format rule for tournament games that involve advancements in the league table to play three-on-three format to help break a tie. Most college games will end after 65 minutes of play, regardless if the scores are tied. 

What Happens If There’s A Penalty In Overtime? 

When a penalty occurs in overtime, the offending player is sent off, but the team will not play at a 3-on-2 power play. Instead, the offending player is sent off for the amount of time the referee determines, which is usually two minutes for minor infractions and longer for more serious rule-breaking. Each team adds an additional player, resulting in a 4-on-3 power play period. 

How Long Is Overtime In The NHL Playoffs? 

NHL playoff games, played at full strength of 5-on-5 players, are the only hockey games that cannot end in a tie, and they don’t allow shootouts to determine a winner, either. 

Instead, there can be unlimited overtime periods in the playoffs, which are regulation time of 20 minutes each. If scores still remain tied at the end of the first overtime period, there’s a 15-minute intermission for ice resurfacing, then a second overtime period begins, and so on until the next score. The first team to score wins the game, so these are “sudden death” situations. 

The most overtime periods ever played in a single game to date was in the 1955 State Hockey Tournament between Minneapolis South and the Thief River Falls Prowlers. That game played out over 11 OT periods. As this was a college tournament, the intermissions were shorter, so this wasn’t the longest game ever played, but it was the only game in history where officials recommended suspending play after seven overtime periods. Both sides wanted to play it out, however, so the game continued until OT-9 when officials made the unusual decision to let players rest in the dressing room before returning to play. 

What Was The Longest NHL Hockey Game?

The longest NHL game was the 1936 Stanley Cup Semi Finals between Detroit and the Montreal Maroons. The total game time was 176 minutes and 30-seconds. The game started at 8:30 pm, ending at 2:25 am. 

Do Televised Games Last Longer? 

Nationally televised NHL games last for longer, but they do not actually play for longer. The game time consists of the same 20-minute regulation periods, with two 17-minute intermissions. 

There are more stoppage times during televised games. This included timefor broadcasters to show ad commercials.

Does Play Stop During TV Timeouts? 

Yes. In each period, there are three TV timeouts, each lasting for two minutes. This happens after six-minutes of play, again at ten minutes, and the last stoppage in each period is at the 14-minute mark. 

How Long Can A Hockey Game Last? 

There is no telling how long a hockey game can last. There is a minimum and that’s at least 112 minutes for nationally televised games, including. 

  • 60 minutes of regulation play
  • 34 minutes for intermissions (2 x 17-minute intermissions)
  • 18 minutes for TV timeouts (6 minutes per period)

If the score is tied at the end of period three, there’s one minute of stoppage time, then five minutes overtime in a regular game, or a 20-minute overtime period in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The latter will continue with 20-minute overtime periods, followed by 15-minute intermissions between OT periods, until a goal is scored. 

Wrapping it all up

How long a hockey game lasts will be determined by the type of game and the league. Recreational hockey games are played using runtime for 60 minutes of play, plus some extra minutes added to cover stoppage time during the game. There will also be at least one intermission for the ice to be cleaned and resurfaced.

League hockey games are played over three periods of 20 minutes each. The first and second periods are each followed by at least a 15-minute intermission. If scores are tied at the end of the third period, there is a short stoppage time of one or two minutes, depending on the league, followed by a 5-minute overtime period. 

If overtime ends with the score still tied, regulation games go to a shootout. The Stanley Cup Playoffs can be the longest hockey games, as there are no shootouts to determine a winner.  Instead, overtime periods are 20 minutes of play, and if the OT period ends in a tie, there’s another 15-minute intermission and another 20-minute overtime period. This continues until a goal is scored. The first to score in overtime, wins.

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