How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game?

Understanding the precise duration of a hockey game in minutes is essential for fans and enthusiasts. Explore the standard length of regulation play, along with potential overtime periods, to grasp the time commitment required to enjoy this exhilarating sport.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game?

149 minutes

NHL hockey games are 149 minutes long, from start to finish. They consist of 60 minutes of gameplay and 89 minutes of stoppages, intermissions, and commercial breaks.

Additionally, most NHL games start 8 minutes after their scheduled time. So, if a hockey game starts at 7, it will actually start at 7:08, and end at 9:37 PM.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game - Average NHL Game Length - Minutes

Outside of the NHL, it is impossible to say how long a hockey game will be. Different leagues use different period structures, and different rules surrounding intermissions and ice cuts.

NHL Game Structure
  1. Regulation
    • Three periods, 20 minutes each.
    • 18-minute intermissions.
  2. Overtime
    • One period, 5 minutes.
    • Games go to overtime if the opposing teams tied in regulation.
    • Sudden-death:
      • Whoever scores first wins.
  3. Shootout
    • Three rounds, alternating shooters.
      • Whichever team has more goals at the end of 3 rounds wins.
    • If a tie persists, the shootout continues, one round at a time.
      • Whoever scores more in a single round wins.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game?

NHL hockey games are 149 minutes, from start to finish.

Obviously, the length of hockey games vary. In 2023, the shortest regular season NHL game was 130 minutes long. Meanwhile the longest regular season game was 182 minutes long.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game - average NHL Game Length - Minutes

In addition to the game’s duration, NHL games also start 8 minutes after their scheduled time. So, if a hockey game starts at 7, it will actually start at 7:08 at end at 9:37 PM.

A majority of the delay can be attributed to the singing of the national anthem, as well as any other pre-game ceremonies. Most NHL games will choose to honor a special guest in attendance before the game begins.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game - Average Game Delay

According to the rules, there is only 60~65 minutes of actual hockey that can be played. But once we factor in all of the stoppages, intermissions, and commercial breaks, it will be 149 minutes from the initial puck drop to the final whistle.

Overtime Games Are 6 Minutes Longer

Hockey games that go to overtime are 6 minutes longer on average.

Even though there is technically a maximum of 5 minutes allotted in OT, the average length of overtime games is push over that threshold due to 2 factors:

  1. Stoppages in gameplay.
  2. 32% of all overtime games end in a tie, and thus continue onto a shootout.

For any given NHL hockey game, there is a 23% chance that it will go to overtime. This is based on the 2023 NHL season, where 302 out of 1,312 games ended up going to overtime.

Shootout Games Are 12 Minutes Longer

Games that go to shootout are 12 minutes longer on average – a good portion of this time is used up by the zambonis as they clean the ice.

There is usually no ice cut in between the 3rd period and overtime, however if a game continues onto a shootout, the zambonis will usually clean the middle area of the ice to ensure that players can stickhandle and shoot adequetly.

How Many Minutes Is A Playoff Hockey Game?

Playoff hockey games in the NHL are 164 minutes long, on average. They are 15 minutes longer than regular season games.

Like regular season games, however, they feature an 8-minute delay on average. So, if a playoff game starts at 7 PM, it will actually start at 7:08 PM and end at 9:52 PM.

How Many Minutes Is A Hockey Game - Average Playoff Game Length

The reason playoff games are longer than regular season games is because there is no limit on the number of overtimes that can be played.

Regular season games feature a shootout after 1 period of overtime. However, playoff games have no shootouts, and instead, play as many overtimes as necessary to decide a winner.





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