# How Many Periods in Hockey? – The Ultimate Guide

How many periods in hockey? The majority of sports use quarters or halves for their games. However, in hockey, there are times of play.

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Comparing this usage of periods to a quarter or half, it is less obvious. How many of these intervals are there in NHL games? Do the intervals have the same duration? Is a period applied to overtime? This article will go over the periods in hockey and how overtime affects the standard rules of the game.

## How many periods in hockey?

A hockey game consists of three periods, each lasting 20 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes. If there is a draw after sixty minutes, there will be a 5-minute extra session and a shootout. Teams will compete in 20-minute sessions of sudden-death overtime throughout the playoffs to break ties.

Players receive halftime breaks in football and basketball, just like they do during each period.

Since each game consists of at least two rest periods, hockey does not refer to these pauses as halftime.

Intermissions are the phrase for these pauses or relaxation times. The first and second periods are followed by eighteen-minute intermissions.

## Were NHL hockey games always three periods long?

It wasn’t always three periods in an NHL game.

NHL games consisted of two 30-minute periods in hockey until the 1910–11 season. The players’ quality of ice was the primary factor in the games’ three-period division. The NHL determined that resurfacing the ice every 20 minutes instead of every 30 would be more advantageous.

As you play on an ice surface more regularly, snow will accumulate, and the likelihood of ice chips and grooves forming increases as the surface softens. The puck cannot go as smoothly owing to increased friction when there is a buildup of snow, which slows down the game. The game’s overall speed may also be impacted by players slowing down as a result of the grooves.

Players might, regrettably, suffer life-threatening injuries from ice chips. For starters, athletes may trip over the ice unintentionally because of the ice chips. Serious injuries to the legs (sprains, ruptured ACLs/MCLs, etc.) can result from a player’s skate being trapped in the groove or chip.

The actual amount of time players spend on the ice during 20 minutes is closer to 40–45 minutes in real-time, not counting the whistles for goals, penalties, offsides, and icing heard in between plays.

## Can a hockey game last longer than three periods?

Games in the NHL and other professional leagues may undoubtedly last longer than three periods, or “regular time.”

As previously stated, overtime will be played if the score is tied after 60 minutes of play (three sessions). Teams play 3-on-3 during a 5-minute overtime period during the regular season. A shootout is used to break ties in games that remain deadlocked after overtime. It should be mentioned that after the third period, the ice does not resurface.

The regulations are a little bit different in the playoffs since games are determined by sudden death over time. In other words, the game will conclude with the first goal scored in overtime. Similar to regular time, playoff overtime sessions last 20 minutes and are contested five-on-five. The third period’s intermissions are of the same length, lasting only fifteen minutes each.

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## 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 overtime periods in Hockey

The 2015–2016 NHL season saw a change in overtime regulations to a 3–on–3 structure. To promote more scoring and fewer shootout-ending games, the league took this action. There is no 3-on-3 play during the NHL playoffs.

Instead, until one team scores, it’s a 5-on-5 sudden-death overtime match.
The vast ice surface area of the NHL allows for significantly more room on the rink for three-on-three overtime action, which increases offense.

In the 1999 season, the NHL changed from a 5-on-5 to a 4-on-4 system. Up until the NHL implemented the 3-on-3 system in 2015–2016, these periods in Hockey format were in place.

## How long are the periods in hockey?

Twenty minutes is the average length of a period in hockey. Twenty-minute periods are used for all professional hockey league games, including the NHL, minor pro leagues, major junior leagues, and European leagues.

The game lasts 60 minutes in total because of these three 20-minute halves. The conclusion of the first period and the commencement of the second and third periods, respectively, are separated in professional leagues by an interval. The game lasts longer than the sixty minutes of real gameplay because of all of these breaks and intermissions. However, intermissions are not considered game periods.

Periods in recreational and youth leagues may be less than twenty minutes. They often don’t run for less than fifteen minutes at a time, though. Arena ice reservations may be limited to 60 or 90 minutes; hence, 15-minute intervals are frequently utilized.

The game must fit within the shorter period since these contests won’t have intermissions like those in professional leagues. Brief intervals are scheduled in advance to accommodate game pauses and a brief respite for the interval reset.

Most recreational leagues won’t play overtime if a game finishes in a tie at regulation time because ice timeslots are closely spaced. While some leagues still let games conclude in ties, others will set up a rapid shootout.

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## What was the longest NHL game?

The longest overtime game in NHL history concluded 12 minutes into the fifth extra frame. Thus, the match lasted for the equivalent of seven and a half regular quarters.

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime to win the 2000 Eastern Conference Semifinals, setting a new record.

However, this kind of prolonged playoff overtime signifies the conclusion of the hockey period scale. The typical professional league game lasts three periods of 20 minutes each.

Youth and recreational leagues sometimes play for shorter durations as well. A period in a reduced extra time form is considered overtime. Hockey is only played until one team scores in sudden-death playoff hockey, which lasts into the fourth frame of the extra session.

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## FAQs About Periods in Hockey

### How long does each period last in a hockey game?

A typical period in hockey game has a duration of approximately 20 minutes.

## Are there any breaks between the periods in hockey?

Each phase is separated by a few intermissions. Players can gather themselves and plan strategy during these intermissions. The duration of the first and second intermissions is around fifteen minutes, while the intermission that occurs between the second and third quarters is generally seventeen minutes.

### Does the game conclude after the third period?

The game doesn’t necessarily end after the third period. If the score is tied, teams move into an overtime period. During regular-season NHL games, this overtime period lasts for five minutes. If the game remains tied after overtime, a shootout may be used to determine the ultimate victor.

### What transpires if a team scores during overtime?

If a team manages to score during the overtime period, the game immediately concludes, and that team is declared the winner.

### How many periods are there in playoff hockey games?

In playoff games, the rules are slightly different. Periods in hockey can extend indefinitely until one of the teams scores. Playoff matches do not include shootouts.

### Can there be more than three periods in hockey?

Occasionally, in exhibition or preseason games, there may be variations in the number of periods in hockey. Nevertheless, in a standard regulation game, you can expect three periods.

### Are there any other pauses during a hockey game?

Besides the primary intermissions, there are also scheduled TV timeouts throughout periods in hockey. These timeouts serve both commercial breaks and provide players with a brief respite.