How long is a Hockey Game?
The length of a hockey game can vary depending on the game format. The average full length National Hockey League (NHL) game lasts between three and four hours, but can sometimes take up to five hours if overtime is necessary. During the Olympic Games, international hockey games last slightly less time, with a typical full game taking anywhere from two and a half to three and a half hours.
In the NHL, a full game consists of three 20-minute periods of play. In this format, the games can last up to five hours if overtime is necessary. Overtime in the NHL works slightly differently than in other sports, with teams switching ends of the rink and playing 3-on-3, followed by a shootout if necessary.
During the Olympic Games, the format changes slightly. The full hockey games will still only last three periods, but they are 15 minutes each, instead of 20 minutes. As a result, the Olympic hockey games tend to be slightly shorter than those of the NHL, often ending in the two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half-hour range.
Sudden death is also possible in some hockey formats. This format is used to break a tie score, wherein teams would play a full, shortened game. In this format, the game itself may last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the tournament.
Finally, a half-ice format is also available for training, practice and development. In this format, the games are shortened to just five minutes, with offsides and icing rules removed. This is a shorter, faster format of hockey designed for those who are just getting introduced to the game, or for advanced players who are looking to practice more quickly.
Overall, the length of a hockey game can vary depending on the format. National Hockey League games usually last anywhere from three to five hours, depending on overtime. Olympic hockey games usually last between two and a half to three and a half hours. Sudden death games last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, and half-ice D3 games last just five minutes. No matter the length of the game, a hockey game is always an exciting and thrilling experience!