How Long Are Hockey Games (And Why)

Exact Answer: 2.5 to 3 hours

Hockey is played on grass, turf, or in an indoor arena. Hockey is played in many ways and on various surfaces. Hockey is primarily a stick and ball sport, and the net is always protected by a defender, referred to as a goalkeeper. There are several types of hockey for men, women, and children, each with a distinct level of toughness and athletic requirements.

The purpose of this game is to pass the ball to the goal of the opposing players’ court with a stick. Other players will attempt to steal the ball and score a goal. Positions will be allocated to team members, with responsibilities established ahead of time. Each team member aims to get the ball into the opponent’s goal position.

How Long Are Hockey Games


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How Long Are Hockey Games?

Organizers of the hockey gameTime taken
National hockey league2.5 to 3 hours
High school1 hour and 15 minutes

The length of a hockey game is determined by the game’s difficulty level. The estimated duration is 2 hours and 23 minutes, but it will be different for each league. The NHL game is the longest, while the NHL game for kids is the shortest.

The average length of an NHL game is 2.5 to 3 hours. The entire game is divided into three 20-minute segments. After the first and second periods, there is a 17-minute interval. If the game is tied, there will be a 5-minute extra period. If the game is still tied after overtime, a shootout is held.

The runtime exceeds 2 hours because of other variables such as stoppage time and TV advertising. A professional hockey game lasts between 2.5 and 3 hours on average.

The majority of minor league hockey games are played in the same way as NHL games are played. Depending on the league, there may be minor variances in overtimes and shootouts. The East Coast Hockey League, for example, matches the NHL’s schedule except for a 7-minute extra session.

The main difference between a college hockey game and an NHL game is that college hockey games last 2.5 hours instead of three. Intermissions, overtime, and stoppage times are all identical to those in the NHL. Another distinction is that each side receives one 1-minute timeout, with a second timeout added if the game goes into overtime.

The length of a high school hockey game varies by state, although it lasts between 1 hour and 15 minutes and 2 hours in actual time. There is a 12 to 15-minute break between the two classes. When the clock runs out and the game is still tied, there is a 3-minute rest period before the game proceeds into a 7.5 to 8-minute overtime period. If no side scores in overtime, the game moves to a shootout.

In hockey, there are two intermissions. Between the first and second periods, there’s one. Between the second and third periods, there is another. Unless the game is nationally televised, NHL intermissions are 15.5 minutes long. The intermissions are prolonged to 17 minutes if the game is nationally televised to accommodate for TV timeouts. To guarantee that play resumes promptly, warnings are provided 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute before the game resumes.

Why Hockey Games Are So Long?

Understanding the degree of competition between teams makes determining the length of a hockey game challenging. The more time you spend on the game, the more competitive the game will be.

Many factors influence the length of a typical hockey game. These are some of them:

  • The regulation length of each session is 20 minutes which is the most important determinant in determining how long the game will run.
  • When it comes to game length, overtime is the biggest unknown because if it continues over the five-minute overtime period, a shootout can have an unpredictable impact on the game’s length.
  • In hockey, player injuries are prevalent, hence, injury timeouts are not rare.
  • Penalties are one of the few reasons for the game to halt and resume, however, this has no bearing on the game clock, simply the length of each game.
  • Fights are one of the most thrilling aspects of a hockey game, and they also help to lengthen the game’s length.
  • If a game is shown on television, there will be several commercial breaks.


Hockey games are constantly seeking new methods to keep their supporters entertained as they wait for their turn to play. Supporters may anticipate spending several hours watching hockey games, from warm-up encounters with fans to penalty shootout overtimes in the playoffs. While a conventional hockey game is likely to last more than two hours, playoff games can last considerably longer.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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