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AP Photo/Nick Wass

Every sport has its idiosyncrasies, and ice hockey is no different.

You are watching: How many periods in ice hockey game

Part of emerging a sport is comes up v the way the games will it is in structured. Take, because that example, soccer, i m sorry is traditionally separated into halves. The NBA and the NFL have 4 quarters to your games. Major organization Baseball has actually nine innings, although now doubleheaders are just seven innings.


What around a hockey game, though? exactly how are NHL games structured? There’s regulation time, the course, however a National Hockey League game is not always bound to the temporal restrictions of regulation.

So just how does the NHL divvy increase its time? and also how can it differ from one ice cream hockey video game to the next?

How plenty of Periods in Hockey?

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The NHL’s regular-season games are divided into three 20-minute periods. This has been the case in the NHL, and also in other establishments like IIHF, for rather some time.

Over a century ago, NHL games were split into two 30-minute halves, but nobody left alive remembers those days.

After the first period come the an initial intermission, which permits the football player to rest in the locker room. However, intermissions room about much more than rest. It’s also the time because that the Zamboni to resurface the hockey rink.

Ice skates perform some real damages to the ice, and a poor-quality rink provides for bad quality place. Typically speaking, the NHL employs a 17-minute intermission. Over there is one more intermission ~ the 2nd period, and if a team is ahead at the end of the third duration the game ends.


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However, if the game is bound on the scoreboard at the finish of regulation climate we gain some overtime.

The NHL’s overtime period during the continual season is 5 minutes that sudden death hockey. That way if a team scores first, lock win. Before overtime, the ice surface ar may gain a little bit of a sprucing up however there is no true intermission.

Over the last pair of decades, the NHL has actually tweaked that is regular-season overtime rules. There provided to be five skaters a side, add to a goalie — similar to during regulation play. After a time, the NHL moved come four-on-four overtime.

Why? since if the video game was tied in ~ the finish of the five-minute overtime, it would end in a tie, and North American sports are adverse come draws. The hope to be four-on-four would lead to much more scoring.

Starting through the 2015-16 NHL season, the organization moved come three-on-three overtime. It’s not simple on defensemen or goaltenders, however it yielded more games made decision in sudden death overtime. The league wants that, due to the fact that there space no much longer ties in the NHL.

After five minutes that overtime in the NHL continual season they rental a shootout. In an NHL shootout, three hockey players from every team are preferred to walk one-on-one with the the contrary goalie.

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If one team scores much more goals the end of those three possibilities they win. If they room tied, the shootout continues. In the NHL, you must used a different shooter because that every attempt until you run out, however in Olympic pat a team is allowed to usage a player multiple times.