If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End?

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End?

Understanding the end time of a hockey game starting at 7 PM is crucial for fans and attendees. Explore factors influencing game duration and typical end times for an insightful perspective.

If a hockey game starts at 7 what time will it end?

9:37 PM

If a hockey game starts at 7, it will end at 9:37 PM. This is based on the average NHL game length of 2 hours and 29 minutes combined with the average 8-minute delay across all NHL games in 2023.

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End - Average NHL Game Length

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End?

If a hockey game starts at 7, it will end at around 9:37 PM. This calculation is based on two factors:

  1. Average NHL Game Length:
    • 2 hours 29 minutes
  2. Average NHL Game Delay:
    • 8 Minutes

The shortest game in the 2023 regular season was 2 hours and 10 minutes while the longest game was 3 hours and 2 minutes long. In layman’s terms, NHL games are two to three hours long, and two and a half hours on average.

Average Game Delay Is 8 Minutes

The average delay in NHL games is 8 minutes, across all games, meaning, a majority of games start 8 minutes late.

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End - Average NHL Game Delay

The majority of game delays can be attributed to the singing of the national anthem as well as other pre-game ceremonies such as honoring special guests in attendance.

Structure Of NHL Games

A useful bit of knowledge to know as to, “how long a 7 o’clock game will last” is the structure of the game itself:

1. Regulation:

  • 5 on 5 play
  • Three periods, 20-minutes each
  • 18-minute intermissions.

2. Overtime:

  • 3 on 3 play
  • One period, 5 minutes
  • Sudden-death: whoever scores first wins.

3. Shootout:

  • 3 shooters per team, alternating shooters.
    • Whichever team scores more wins.
  • Proceed 1 round at a time if tie persists:
    • 1 shooter per team, alternating shooters.

In total, there is 96 minutes of regulation time allotted, including the intermissions. Hypothetically, if a hockey game starts at 7, and the game started on time, with no breaks or overtime, the game would end at 8:36 PM.

However, if a hockey game starts at 7, it actually end at 9:37 PM on average, meaning, there is roughly an hour worth of stoppages and commercial breaks during an NHL game.

Overtime Games Are 6 Minutes Longer

Games that go to overtime are 6 minutes longer than average. In 2023, there were 302 NHL games that went to overtime, representing 23% of all games played in the season.

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End - Average NHL Overtime Length

In the regular season, there is only 5 minutes of allotted overtime, yet the average overtime game is 6 minutes long, how is this possible?

This is because 32% – almost one-third – of all overtime games actually continue onto a shootout.

Shootout Games Are 12 Minutes

Games that go to shootout are 12 minutes longer than average. In 2023, there were 95 NHL games that went to a shootout, representing 7% of all games played in the season.

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End - Average NHL Shootout Length

Shootouts were introduced to the NHL in 2005 and were designed to find winners to games in a fast and entertaining way. For the most part, they accomplish this task.

Deciding a winner without a shootout, that is, deciding a winner with sudden-death overtime can take a very long time. This is evident in many playoff games.

Playoff Games can Go Much Longer

The longest playoff game played in 2023 was 5 hours and 44 minutes long, two and a half hours longer than the longest regular season game.

On average, playoff games are only 15 minutes longer than regular season games. However, they have the potential to go much, much longer.

This is because playoff games have no shootout. Instead, teams play as many overtimes as necessary to decide a winner, and sometimes, this can take a very long time.

If A Hockey Game Starts At 7 What Time Will It End - Average NHL Playoff Game Length

In the above graph, you will notice a single blue data point to the right of the 5.5-hour mark on the x-axis. This is the infamous game played between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes in the 2023 playoffs.

The game started at 8:10 PM and ended at 1:54 AM, lasting a total of 5 hours and 44 minutes. Imagine gearing up for warmups at 7, and not taking your gear off for the next 7 hours.

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


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