How Long Is An Ice Hockey Game?

Hey there, all you puck-loving fans! If you’ve ever found yourself pondering over the length of an ice hockey game, then you’ve come to the right place. In this all-encompassing guide, we’re diving deep into the duration of an ice hockey game, leaving no puck unturned. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned fan, we’ve got your back (or should I say, your blue line?).

The Basics of Game Duration

Alright, let’s start with the basics. An ice hockey game is split into three periods, each clocking in at 20 minutes of play time. But hold your Zamboni, there’s more to it! Between these high-octane periods, there are intermissions that typically last around 15 minutes. That’s the perfect time to grab a snack, refill your beverage, and mentally prepare for the next action-packed period.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. During regulation time, the clock stops for various reasons. Goals being scored, penalties being called, and even when the puck decides to take a little detour out of play – all these bring the game clock to a screeching halt. This means that while each period is scheduled for 20 minutes, the actual time it takes to complete a period can vary.

Overtime, Shootouts, and Nail-Biting Moments

So, what happens if the game is all tied up at the end of regulation time? Cue the dramatic music – it’s overtime! This sudden-death period is where the real heart-stopping action kicks in. The first team to score during overtime claims victory, sending fans into a frenzy of cheers and fist pumps.

But wait, there’s more! If neither team manages to find the back of the net during overtime, get ready for the adrenaline-pumping shootout. It’s a battle of nerves as players take penalty shots to determine the ultimate winner. Talk about edge-of-your-seat excitement!

Factors that Can Influence Game Duration

Now, let’s delve into the factors that can affect just how long an ice hockey game lasts. Stoppages in play due to penalties or injuries, video reviews by officials, and timeouts called by coaches – these can all play a role in extending the duration of the game. It’s all part of what makes ice hockey such a thrilling and unpredictable sport.

The Impact of Television Timeouts

Ah, television timeouts – the bane of every eager fan’s existence. These scheduled breaks allow broadcasters to slip in those oh-so-necessary commercial breaks during gameplay. They typically occur at predetermined points in each period, adding a touch of suspense as everyone eagerly awaits the action to resume.


And there you have it, folks! The duration of an ice hockey game is a dynamic and ever-changing experience, influenced by a multitude of factors. So, the next time you settle in to watch your favorite team hit the ice, you’ll have a better grasp of just how long the excitement will last. Get ready to witness the magic unfold, one slapshot at a time!

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can an ice hockey game end in a tie?

Absolutely not! In regular-season games in professional leagues like the NHL, if a game is deadlocked at the end of regulation time, it’s off to overtime and potentially a shootout to crown the victor.

2. How long are intermissions between periods?

Intermissions between periods typically give you around 15 minutes to refuel, stretch your legs, and maybe even practice your best Zamboni impression.

3. Do television timeouts occur during every period?

You bet they do! Television timeouts are strategically scheduled to occur during each period, giving you just enough time to catch your breath and brace yourself for more heart-stopping action.

4. What happens if there’s a delay or interruption during gameplay?

If the game hits a snag due to unforeseen circumstances (like equipment malfunctions or arena shenanigans), officials may tack on extra time to make up for the lost minutes of play.

5. Is there a maximum length for how long an ice hockey game can last?

While there’s no strict maximum length for games, measures may be taken (like additional overtime periods) to ensure that the games wrap up within reasonable limits. After all, we wouldn’t want the Zamboni drivers working overtime, would we?

And there you have it, my fellow hockey aficionados – everything you need to know about the rollercoaster ride that is the duration of an ice hockey game! So, lace up your skates, grab your jersey, and get ready to experience the thrill of the game like never before.