How long does a hockey game last? + Rules for NHL overtime and the Stanley Cup playoffs
The good old hockey Game. This is the best game you can name. Etc.
If you’re a new hockey fan (and if so, welcome to the club!) You might have questions. One of them can be what kind of time commitment you do when you sit down to watch hockey.
How long is it NHL game will take?
Well it depends, but let’s start answering the simple question of how long does a game of hockey last.
National Hockey League playing time
RELATED: How many periods are there in a hockey game?
Now, it should be noted that ice hockey games are held all over the world. We’re not talking about your local beer league here or the roller hockey league you played in with your friends in high school.
The duration of a hockey game is standardized from an NHL hockey game to the minor leagues of the AHL and ECHL To Olympic hockey and even through college hockey Games.
So let’s talk about regulation time.
In the regular season and playoffs, regulation time for a NHL game is 60 minutes of playing time. This hour of hockey action is divided into three 20 minute periods. Now, at the very beginning of NHL history, they used two 30-minute periods.
Yet we are talking more than a century ago. Everyone alive today has only experienced one NHL with three 20-minute periods in regulation time.
Ah, but they don’t just play three bouts of relentless action. It’s not football, and even football has a halftime. There are saves every time the NHL is in action.
When a referee blows his whistle, the game clock stops. In the NHL, three times per period there are televised timeouts for commercial breaks. These are shorter respites. Interacts are another story.
After the first and second periods, the NHL teams have a 17-minute intermission. It’s not just about giving players a chance to rest and goalies to get up for a few. During intermissions, Zambonis resurface the ice rink to make the ice cream smoother and cooler. We don’t need the washers to bounce and the pads to get caught in the ruts.
Don’t expect a game to always end with a honk in the third period. If the teams are tied at the end of the regulation, we head for extra time. The NHL uses a five-minute overtime period during the regular season. Oh, and that’s sudden death overtime, by the way, which means if a team scores they win.
The NHL Overtime Rules have changed a bit over the years. First, it was five against five, then it became four against four. Now it’s three on three because the NHL is really hoping to end games during the five minutes of overtime.
For many years, if a game was tied after extra time, it was the end of the game. Both teams got a point for a tie, and that’s it. The NHL was not happy with this, however.
So now if a game is tied after extra time we get a shootout. This could, theoretically, go on forever. But, in reality, it usually only lasts a few minutes, as teams rarely go through the first three shooters they choose to start a shootout.
However, in 2014, the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals in a shootout in 20 rounds.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs
You now know the rules for regular season games, but the NHL playoffs work a little differently.
While a playoff game always consists of three 20-minute periods, overtime is a different story.
In the playoffs, overtime is 20 minutes of sudden death hockey played five on five. If the game is still tied, we get another 20 minute overtime, and so on until someone scores.
This is professional hockey at its best.
If you’re determined to watch an NHL Playoff game through to its conclusion, you better be prepared for the long haul. The longest playoff game in NHL history took place in 1936 when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Montreal Maroons by 1-0. There have been six overtime and a total playing time of 176 minutes and 30 seconds.
Yes, the fans went so long without seeing a goal.
However, do not think that long overtime only dates back to the 1930s. In 2020, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus blue jackets in five extra hours. Or maybe the overtime will be over in two minutes.
That’s the magic of playoff overtime.