How Long Is A Hockey Period?

How Long Is A Hockey Period?


How long do you need to hold your breath to see the exciting finish of the hockey match? As hockey is a 3-period game, generally, you can take a relief breath after every period. But there are some differences regarding how long a hockey period will take in the field.

Generally, In professional Ice Hockey matches, each period takes 20 minutes. But, this time length may vary according to the regulation of the game. According to the rule from different division matches, a hockey period does not last less than 15 minutes and not more than 20 minutes. But, the injuries, breaks, and accidental issues take more than 20 minutes to complete a period.

What is the Hockey Period?

Like other games, hockey is also played with breaks. In a football match, two slots of the games are named by the first half and second half. Similarly, the slot of the hockey match is named as period. There are three periods in a hockey match, and between the first and second periods, there is the first intermission, the second break takes place between the second and third periods.

How Long Is A Hockey Period?

How long is an Olympic Hockey game or Professional Hockey game? Well, Hockey games have three periods; each period takes 20 minutes. So a Hockey game is a 60 minutes game. But, there are some differences too. Football vs Hockey sports is strenuous games that also have some differences.

Hockey Period for NHL, Olympics, and Other Professional Level

The National Hockey league is played for 20 minutes in each period. As long as the puck is on the ground, the clock counts its time, but the time stops as soon as the puck takes off from the ground. Time stops occur due to pucks leaving the ice; goalie net needs to tighten, fight on the ground, injuries, or penalty shootout.

Hockey Period for Youth Level

If you are a regular spectator of a college hockey game, you may think, “How long is a college hockey game?” Well, College hockey game time is different from professional hockey games. Generally, the game period for the youth level is between 15-20 minutes.

The younger level hockey period lasts for 12-15 minutes. The First and Second periods last for 12 minutes. The third period lasts for 15 minutes. Generally, time doesn’t stop if, for some minor reason, a puck is needed to be removed from the field.

Each period lasts for the higher youth level for 15-17 minutes. In general, 17 minutes is the optimum time to play in the higher youth level match. Period time depends on the league regulation committee. 

Hockey Period for professional Four Quarter

In professional four-quarter games, each period is long, for 15 minutes. There are 4 periods in a match. The full time for the game is 60 minutes. The only difference here is 4 periods rather than 3 periods from professional games.

Hockey period for Indoor Hockey

An international indoor match is divided into 2 periods. Each period is 20 minutes. A total of 40 minutes is played here. In between 2 periods, the player gets one break to go to their dressing room for planning and rest.

Does Overtime Count as Period?

When both teams score the same after three or four periods, the game is extended to overtime. But, this overtime does not count as a period. Professional doesn’t name this as the fourth period or anything.  

During overtime, there are some changes in rules and regulations. Each team can play with five players, including a goalie instead of six. The overtime is also played for 20 minutes. Previously, overtime lasted for 5 minutes, and if the score remained the same, the game entered into the “sudden death” phase. 

Now the overtime is counted as sudden death. Sudden death is played for 20 minutes. But if any team scores first, the game ends there, and the scoring team wins the match. 

Though it is uncommon, two or more overtime games can occur in a match. If this happens, then the overtime will be named 1OT, 2OT, 3OT, etc. 

Intermissions in Between Hockey Periods

Intermissions last for 15-20 minutes. In 3-period hockey games, there are 2 intermissions. In 4-period hockey games, there are 3 intermissions. Time Length is different for different leagues. 

  • Olympic, Professional game intermission time is 15 minutes
  • In Stanely Cup, intermission time is 20 minutes
  • In the National Hockey League (NHL), the intermission time is 17 minutes.

Breaks are given due to the following reasons:

  • Ice resurfacing
  • Player’s rest break
  • Team regrouping
  • Spectators break for food, beverages, and bathroom
  • Commercial Advertise Telecast break


Final Words

From professional to entertainment purposes, hockey games generally last for 60 minutes without a break and up to 2.5 hours, including breaks, accidents, and overtime. Different game versions have different periods. But, a 3-period match is the most common one with 20 minutes long in each period. 

The clock is running as long as the puck is on the ground. But due to the intentional breaks, the clock needs to stop, extending the period time. It is not surprising to take 40-45 minutes to complete 20 minutes. Whether 20 minutes or 45 minutes, as long as players and spectators are on the field, it is fun to play and watch.

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