How long Does a Hockey Game Last?
Hockey is a fast-paced and highly-energetic game that can be quite exciting to watch. With such a high level of action and intensity, one might assume that hockey games can last for hours. However, the average duration of a hockey game is much less than one might assume.
Duration of a Regulation Game
The official duration of a regulation hockey game is 60 minutes, or three periods of 20 minutes each. These 20-minute periods are broken up into 15-minute periods. At the end of each period, there is a stoppage of play for a few minutes, allowing teams to change lines, strategize and adjust their playing styles. This increases the amount of time a game lasts slightly, making the total amount of game time around 70 minutes.
What Extends the Length of a Game
After regulation game time is complete, it can be extended with overtime or a “shootout.” Overtime is a 5-minute period of “sudden-death” style hockey, wherein the game ends and the team with the most goals wins the game. If the score is still tied, the game can go into a shootout format that consists of alternating one-on-one scenarios where each team’s best players have the opportunity to try and score a goal. This can extend the game for an additional 5-10 minutes, depending upon how many players attempt the shootout.
Factors that Impact the Length of a Game
The length of a hockey game can be impacted by several factors, such as:
- Penalties, which can extend the game time with time spent in the penalty box, power play attempts and faceoffs.
- Delays, such as fights, injuries and any other stoppage of play.
- The NHL, which has specific rules regarding the length of a game.
Each of these factors can cause a game to last slightly longer than the regulation 70 minutes. It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of hockey games end within two hours.
Ultimately, the length of a hockey game can vary depending upon a variety of factors, but the average game time is around 70 minutes. With the introduction of overtime and shootouts, the length can be extended slightly, but the majority of games finish within two hours.