Have you ever wondered how long the average hockey game really is? There are three periods, but how long do they run? And how long are intermissions? Plus, how early should I arrive before the start of the game? How much time does this all add up to? We’ll crunch the numbers here on hockey game times.
How long does an average hockey game last? ice hockey games last 60 minutes in regulation time. expect hockey games to average a total time of around 2.5 to 3 hours when you include detention, injuries & overtime.
Reading: Average length of nhl game
when are hockey games the longest?
They can last longer if there are injuries or a lot of stoppages and fights. overtime and firefights can also add extra time to the game. in the playoffs, sudden death overtime can also add significant additional time to the length of the game.
The official period of play is 20 minutes x 3 periods (1 hour), but play is stopped each time the referee blows the whistle. there is also an intermission after the first and second halves (2 x 17 minutes).
- total playing time: 60 minutes
- total intermission: 17 + 17 minutes = 34 minutes
- injuries & stops (average): 15-25 minutes
average total game time: 2h 20min +
playing without breaks would be 1 hour and 34 minutes, but with breaks, it’s at least two hours and often closer to three hours.
For nhl game tv broadcasts, networks schedule a 2 hour 30 minute time slot to play a game.
however, they usually won’t schedule an urgent program right after the game, since games run frequently over time.
Game interruptions take as long as they do due to commercials running during game broadcasts. but there are also practical reasons for stoppages and intermissions.
During commercial breaks, NHL teams will send out their ice crew to shovel excess ice shavings and snow off the ice. Doing so allows for the puck to travel with more speed on the ice surface.
intermissions allow the zamboni to resurface on ice worn down by the period of play. the 17-minute intermission gives the zamboni driver time to fill in the entire ice surface and allow it to dry for a few minutes.
That’s why there are two intermissions: one follows the first and second periods of play, while the game ends after the third period. the zamboni takes advantage of the intermissions to resurface the ice for the start of the second and third periods.
Players also get a chance to rest and regroup during intermissions. players value the break from the physically demanding game, while coaches have time to strategize. and advise players on their tactics to advance.
but for fans, the game is even longer as you have to get there before the start of the game. by the way, that’s how cold an ice rink is.
For tournament play, you should also allow additional time to allow for medal ceremonies. in such cases, expect to be on the track for more than three hours.
How early do people usually get to hockey games?
You’ll want to get there well before the puck drops to get your seat and be inside the arena on time. allow time to get through the lines and grab some snacks.
You may also want to arrive early specifically to watch the teams warm up. this can be a unique experience, seeing professional hockey players getting ready for the game.
If your game starts at 7 p.m.try to line up at the right entrance door at 6:15 p.m. m. the gate lineups move pretty quickly, but the arena is likely to be busy once you enter the concourse.
The exact time you arrive depends on the size of the stadium and the number of fans in attendance. if in doubt, contact the arena or arrive a little early to avoid missing the start.
There are plenty of places to see at professional sports stadiums, so you can never get there too early, as long as you’re there after the gates open.
p.s. the actual game starts 15 minutes after the indicated time. so in this case the delivery of the disc is actually at 7:15 p.m. m. [In the nhl, at least, I know the puck drop is 7 minutes after start time.]
Hardcore fans usually arrive much earlier, while casual fans can arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of the game. season ticket holders can also make it right to the puck giveaway, as they attend games regularly.
The anthem (sometimes two anthems if teams from different countries are playing) is sung at the scheduled time for the game to start. the drop of the record usually immediately follows the singing of the hymns.
Pregame ceremonies and honors can also sometimes make the event last longer before the puck drops.
If you’re in a special seat or box, then you’ll probably also want to get there a little early to enjoy some drinks. these seats are expensive, so you’ll want to take advantage of the elegant experience and savor every minute of it.
When do the players arrive before a match?
here are some ballpark numbers for nhl level games. team staff arrive early to set up the locker room and players arrive a little later to warm up and change into their gear.
players may have also been to the arena earlier in the day for morning skating. but they will leave and come back before the game at night.
usual arrival times on match day
- home team staff: 2.5 to 3 hours before kick-off
- away team: 2 hours
- home team players: 1.5 hours before the match.
- off-field officials: 1 to 1.5 hours before the match</li
- Referees on the ice: 45 minutes to 1 hour before the game.
nhl playoff hockey game schedules
nhl playoffs add another factor to the length of games because they play sudden death overtime if the game is tied after 60 minutes.
Regular season games end their overtime after five minutes. If neither team scores within five minutes of extra time, the game goes to a penalty shootout, which is usually over in a few minutes.
but during the nhl playoffs, overtime extends to 20-minute periods that are played until a team scores. this potentially endless style of overtime is called “sudden death”.
Because teams play until someone scores, games can sometimes go into overtime.
In the modern era of the nhl, the longest overtime game lasted 92 additional minutes and 1 second of additional game time. that means the overtime goal was scored 12 minutes into the fifth overtime period, making it, unbelievably, the eighth 20-minute period of the game.
but extremely long overtime games are rare. however, it is common to see games double and triple in overtime multiple times per playoff season.
In general, professional hockey games will last at least 2 hours and 20 minutes. but when you factor in your arrival time, you’ll probably spend close to 3 hours in the arena. pre-game arrival, three periods of play, stoppages, two intermissions and the possibility of overtime will make for a fun night. Just keep in mind that the game is quite a bit longer than the 60 minutes of action on the clock.
Lower league games, from the beer league to the local area leagues, have the same amount of time on the ice, but because the rinks are smaller and the ceremonial appearances are shorter, you can comfortably approach the drop of the puck. this means that, as a fan, you can arrive later and leave earlier, because there are fewer queues.
ugh and that’s it. I hope I’ve answered every conceivable question you might have about the length of a normal game.
this is the typical flow of a hockey game you would expect. of course it depends on the tournament, the size of the ice rink and some other factors.