December 1, 2022

Hockey Senator

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How Many Periods in Hockey?  Find Out Here

3 min read
Writing announcing the periods in Hockey and also the symbols of it: the ball and the stick.

Hockey is a major game that is played throughout the world whether on ice or on the ground. Ice hockey holds particular popularity in the North American region and school students, university students and beyond regularly take part in competitive hockey games in different leagues and championships.  If you’re considering taking up hockey, or it’s a new sport offered at your school, perhaps you’ve only just recently discovered hockey and want to understand the game a little more, then this piece will help you.  Specifically, this piece focusses on how many periods in hockey but there is some additional information that you might find useful too.

There is a symbol of the NHL presenting Interwetten as an official partner in Austria and Germany.

Find Out How Many Periods in Hockey

There are three periods in a hockey game.  Each period lasts a total of 20 minutes, and when you combine the time together, a game of hockey lasts one hour.  If the game ends in a draw (or a tie) at the end of the 60 minutes of play, then the game will be extended by five minutes.  If there is still no winner at the end of the extra time period, then there will be a penalty shootout.  That’s how many periods in hockey.

In major league hockey, such as during playoffs, teams will play against each other with a sudden death approach to reach a conclusion.  These sudden death periods take 20 minutes each.

The History of Hockey Periods

There is a pair of pink and white Hockey Shoes hanging on a wood wall.

If you’re wondering whether NHL Hockey always consisted of three periods, then the answer to that is no.  Back in 1910, the NHL games consisted of two half-hour periods of play.  Then, this was changed into three periods, and the reason for this was down to the quality of the ice that the game used.

Retaining Decent Ice Quality

A Hockey game played on ice where is very important the quality of ice for the performance of the players.

To keep the quality good enough for play, the NHL resurface the ice every 20 minutes – leaving it 30 minutes meant the ice deteriorated.  That’s because as you play on ice extensively, snow and ice builds up which means there’s more chance of ice chips developing and grooves appearing in the ice, so making the surface unfit for good play.  Plus, the ice starts to soften over time and because of this, the game slows down.  This is because the puck (the “ball”) can’t travel well because there’s more friction which slows it down.  The grooves that appear in the ice slow down the players too, and ice chips are notorious for causing injuries because they encourage the risk of tripping over.

Stoppage Time

A picture from a hockey game on the ice assures the quality of it.

You may think that hockey games seem to last longer than 20 minutes each and that’s because there are usually a few stoppages because of injuries, time-outs, goals, and penalties.  The intermissions to resurface the ice also affect the timescale of each hockey game.  They started at just ten minutes each, but they also often reach up to 17 minutes long!

While the ice is being resurfaced, player teams regroup with their coach and go back to their dressing rooms.  They often have team-talks to discuss the progress of the game and to address any issues.

As well as players taking a break, resurfacing the ice allows spectators time to go to the bathroom, buy snacks and take a break – so the entire length of a hockey game can be 2.5 hours long- sometimes more! So, when asking how many periods in hockey, bear in mind that the periods are 20 minutes each, but the actual game can last much longer, especially if there’s overtime.  Find out more about the rules of ice hockey here: https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/hockey-101-rules-of-the-game/.

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