How Long Is The Average NHL Game

How Long Is The Average NHL Game?

Exploring the typical duration of NHL games offers insight into the pace and structure of professional hockey. Delve into factors influencing game length, from regulation play to potential overtime, to understand the dynamics of this fast-paced sport.

How long is the average NHL game?

2 hours and 29 minutes

The average NHL game is 2 hours and 29 minutes long. The average NHL game also starts 8 minutes late. So, if a game starts at 7, it will actually start at 7:08, and be over at 9:37 PM.

In simple terms, the average NHL game is two and a half hours long.

How Long Is The Average NHL Game?

The average NHL game is 2 hours and 29 minutes long. This consists of:

  • 60 minutes of gameplay.
  • 89 minutes of stoppages, intermissions, commercial breaks, and potential overtime.

In addition to the game’s duration, the average NHL game also starts 8 minutes after the scheduled starting time. Most of this 8-minute delay can be attributed to the singing of the national anthem as well as the honoring of any special guests in attendance.

How Long Is The Average NHL Game -  Average NHL Game Delays

There is a decent amount of variance when it comes to the length of NHL games. The shortest game in the 2023 season was 2 hours and 10 minutes long and the longest game was 3 hours and 2 minutes, a difference of almost an hour.

Overall, you can expect every NHL game to be between 2 to 3 hours long. This is, however, only true for regular-season games. Read below to see how playoff games are longer.

What Are The Chances of Overtime

There is a 23% chance of an NHL game proceeding to overtime. This is based on the 302 overtime games played across all 1,312 games in the 2022~2023 regular season.

Games that proceed to overtime are 6 minutes longer than the average NHL game. The average overtime length (6 minutes) is longer than the allotted time, because 32% of overtime games end in a tie, and thus, proceed to a shootout.

How Long Is The Average NHL Game - NHL Game Endings
What Are The Chances of Shootout

In general, for any given NHL game, there is a 7.3% chance that it will end in a shootout. Out of the 1,312 games played in the 2022-2023 season, 95 games ended in a shootout.

Games that proceed to a shootout are 12 minutes longer than the average NHL game. A good portion of this time is dedicated to the cleaning of the ice after overtime, before the shootout.

How Long Is The Average NHL Playoff Game?

The average playoff game is 2 hours and 44 minutes long, 15 minutes longer than the average regular season game.

Playoff games – like regular season games – start roughly 8 minutes after their scheduled times. So, if a playoff game starts at 7, it will actually start at 7:08, and end at 9:52 PM.

Unlike regular season games, however, playoff games have the potential to go very long. This is because there is no shootout in playoff games. Teams simply play as many overtimes as necessary to decide a winner.

How Long Is The Average NHL Game - Average NHL Game - Playoffs

In the graph above, you will notice one blue data point all the way to the right, around the 5.5-hour mark on the x-axis. That data point is the infamous game played between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers in the 2023 playoffs.

The game went to 4th overtime (4 OT) and lasted from 8:10 PM to 1:54 AM – a total of 5 hours and 44 minutes. Imagine dressing up for a game at 7 PM, and not taking your gear off for the next 7 hours.

The game was 12 seconds away from entering 5th overtime before Matthew Tkachuk scored the game-winning goal. It stands as the 6th longest game in NHL history.


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One response to “How Long Is The Average NHL Game?”

  1. temp mail Avatar

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