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AP Photo/Nick Wass

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

You are watching: How many periods in a hockey game

Part of arising a sports is coming up with the way the gamings will it is in structured. Take, because that example, soccer, i beg your pardon is traditionally split into halves. The NBA and the NFL have 4 quarters to their games. Major organization Baseball has actually nine innings, although currently doubleheaders are just seven innings.


What about a hockey game, though? how are NHL games structured? There’s regulation time, that course, yet a National Hockey League game is not always bound come the temporal constraints of regulation.

So exactly how does the NHL divvy up its time? and also how can it different from one ice cream hockey video game to the next?

How numerous Periods in Hockey?

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The NHL’s regular-season gamings are divided right into three 20-minute periods. This has actually been the situation in the NHL, and also in other institutions 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 an initial period comes the first intermission, which permits the players to rest in the locker room. However, intermissions space about much more than rest. It’s additionally the time for the Zamboni to resurface the hockey rink.

Ice skates carry out some real damage to the ice, and a poor-quality rink provides for negative quality place. Typically speaking, the NHL employs a 17-minute intermission. Over there is one more intermission after the second period, and if a team is ahead at the end of the third period the game ends.


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

The NHL’s overtime duration during the consistent season is five minutes the sudden fatality hockey. That method if a team scores first, lock win. Before overtime, the ice surface ar may gain a bit of a sprucing up however there is no true intermission.

Over the last pair of decades, the NHL has actually tweaked the regular-season overtime rules. There offered to be 5 skaters a side, to add a goalie — as with 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, that would end in a tie, and North American sports are adverse come draws. The hope was four-on-four would certainly lead to more scoring.

Starting through the 2015-16 NHL season, the organization moved to three-on-three overtime. It’s not straightforward on defensemen or goaltenders, yet it yielded an ext games determined in sudden death overtime. The league wants that, since there space no longer ties in the NHL.

After five minutes of overtime in the NHL constant season they employ a shootout. In one NHL shootout, three hockey players from every team are chosen to walk one-on-one v the opposing goalie.

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If one team scores an ext goals out of those three possibilities they win. If they space tied, the shootout continues. In the NHL, you should used a various shooter because that every attempt till you run out, but in Olympic play a team is enabled to usage a player multiple times.