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Hockey Match Duration: How Long is a Game? (Answered 2023)

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What is the time duration of hockey matchDrawing upon centuries of tradition, hockey is a beloved sport that has captivated audiences around the globe. But what makes it so special? For starters, understanding its time duration structure can give you an appreciation for how the game is played.

So, just how long does a hockey match last? Well to answer this question we must first consider whether it’s field or ice hockey.

NHL games last for about two and half hours in real time with three periods of 20 minutes each as well as intermission breaks between them and potential overtime play.

College and recreational matches have similar durations but may vary depending on league rules.

Ultimately though, no matter which level you are watching, one thing remains consistent – hockey truly knows no limits!

Key Takeaways

  • NHL games typically last 2.5-3 hours, comprising 3 periods of 20 minutes each and 2 intermissions of 17 minutes.
  • Field hockey matches have a duration of 60 minutes, consisting of 4 quarters of 15 minutes each, with breaks in between.
  • College and recreational hockey games generally last about 2.5 hours, similar to NHL games, with 3 twenty-minute periods.
  • The duration of a hockey game can vary due to penalties, injuries, and extra periods, especially in playoff games.

Understanding Hockey Time Duration

Understanding Hockey Time Duration
You’re lookin’ at roughly 2 hours of intense action when those skates hit the ice, bud. An NHL regulation game has 3 twenty-minute periods with around 17 minutes between each for Zamboni time. But with all the stoppages for TV commercials, penalties, injuries and such, games can creep up towards 2 and a half hours.

Youth and rec league rules vary, but they max out at an hour fifteen. Field hockey matches are broken into 15-minute quarters with 60 total minutes of play time before overtime.

So depending on whether you’re watching pros battle it out for Lord Stanley’s Cup or just some local beer leaguers, that rink clock ranges from 60 minutes to almost 3 hours by the final buzzer.

How Long is a Field Hockey Match?

How Long is a Field Hockey Match
You’re now moving on from understanding hockey time duration in general to focusing specifically on the duration of a field hockey match.

The time duration of a regulation field hockey match is 60 minutes, split into 4 quarters of 15 minutes each.

  1. The 60 minutes is actual playing time only, not including stoppages.
  2. There’s a 2 minute break between the 1st and 2nd quarters and between the 3rd and 4th quarters.
  3. There’s a 10 minute halftime break between the 2nd and 3rd quarters.
  4. Time is added on at the end of quarters for injuries or delays.
  5. In major tournaments, there are 7.5 minute quarters with 2 minute breaks between them.

The total event time ends up being 70-75 minutes typically. However, variations in stoppage time and overtime can lengthen the duration of a competitive field hockey match.

How Many Quarters in Field Hockey?

How Many Quarters in Field Hockey
There are 4 quarters in a field hockey match, each 15 minutes long. The total duration is 60 minutes of regulation play. Between quarters, teams switch sides on the field to account for any advantage the wind or sun angle gives.

The quarters in field hockey are:

  • First quarter (15 minutes)
  • Second quarter (15 minutes)
  • Halftime break (2-5 minutes)
  • Third quarter (15 minutes)
  • Fourth quarter (15 minutes)

Total play is 60 minutes, unlike ice hockey’s 3 periods of 20 minutes each. The rules allow for overtime or shootouts if needed to determine a winner. Knowing the length and number of quarters helps you understand the flow of a field hockey game.

How Long is an NHL Hockey Game in Real Time?

How Long is an NHL Hockey Game in Real Time
Have you awaited two grueling hours for their skates to glide the final lap in regulation? An NHL hockey game lasts around 2.

  • 3 regulation 20-minute periods
  • 2 intermissions of 17 minutes for ice resurfacing
  • Potential overtime periods in playoffs
  • Television timeouts for commercials
  • Pauses for penalties, injuries, reviews
  • Shootouts if tied after overtime

While the 60 minutes of regulation play ticks by quickly, all the breaks and delays extend an NHL game to around 150 minutes in real time. The excitement builds through this marathon, hoping for your team’s overtime heroics.

Intermissions Between Periods in NHL Games

Intermissions Between Periods in NHL Games
You’re watching the game intently as the period ends. The players skate off the ice and you look at the clock, realizing there’s a 17-minute break before the next period starts.

The NHL mandates a 17-minute break between periods for ice resurfacing and maintenance. The ice gets chopped up throughout the period and needs to be smoothed over before play resumes. The intermissions also provide a chance for players to rest and strategize with coaches in the locker room.

Fans can stretch their legs, purchase concessions or merchandise, and socialize. While the breaks may test your patience, they’re an essential part of any NHL game. Before you know it, the buzzer will sound again signaling the start of the next action-packed period.

Time Between Regulation and Overtime in NHL

Time Between Regulation and Overtime in NHL
After three periods of intense play, you wait with bated breath for the Zamboni to clean the ice before sudden-death overtime begins.

In the NHL, overtime is played with the following regulations:

  1. There’s a 17-minute intermission between the end of regulation and the start of overtime. This allows time for the ice to be resurfaced and for the players to rest between periods.
  2. Overtime periods are 20 minutes long. Teams play at full strength in sudden-death – the first team to score wins the game.
  3. If it’s still tied after one overtime, subsequent 20-minute overtime periods are played until there’s a winner.

The duration of overtime depends on how quickly a goal’s scored. But fans are on the edge of their seats as the teams battle in overtime during the playoffs, knowing the next goal will decide who moves on or goes home.

Length of a Game in the NHL Playoffs

Length of a Game in the NHL Playoffs
The puck drops and suddenly your heart pumps harder as the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup stretches over three nail-biting 20-minute periods, maybe more if it takes overtime to declare a winner.

Playoff hockey differs from the regular season with intense, do-or-die action as teams fight for every inch of ice during the quest for hockey’s ultimate prize. Playoff overtimes feature sudden death, win-or-go-home hockey as the teams continue racking up minutes in pursuit of that one game-winning goal.

Extended playoff overtimes make for epic marathon matches that push the physical limits of the players while keeping fans on the edge of their seats. The playoff thrill ride can stretch games well beyond the usual 60 minutes until a hero finally ends the suspense in OT.

Period Time
Regulation 60 minutes
Overtime 20 minutes
Double OT 40 minutes
Triple OT 60 minutes
Quadruple OT 80 minutes
Quintuple OT 100 minutes

Playoff hockey delivers overtime excitement as teams battle past regulation in pursuit of hockey immortality, leading to classic marathon matches where victory comes down to one final lightning strike in sudden death.

Duration of College and Recreational Hockey Games

Duration of College and Recreational Hockey Games
Eyes dart between pucks gliding across ice as cleats crunch next to sticks slapping across 60 minutes of collegiate and recreational hockey fantasy.

College games last around 2 and a half hours with 3 twenty minute periods, 17 minute intermissions for ice maintenance between periods.

Recreational and youth games are usually 60 minutes but overtime rules vary. Recreational games run approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes without overtime.

Injuries, penalties, and overtime periods can lengthen both college and recreational games.

The duration differs by level of play but 60 minutes of regulation ice time is standard before factoring in intermissions and extra periods in college, recreational and youth leagues.


Hockey is an exciting sport that can last anywhere from just an hour to over three hours, depending on the level of play.

On average, a hockey match usually lasts for two and a half hours. An NHL game has three periods of 20 minutes each and two intermissions, while an NHL playoff game includes an additional 20-minute overtime period.

College and recreational hockey games tend to be shorter, usually lasting around 1.

Field hockey games are a little different, lasting 60 minutes and consisting of four 15-minute quarters.

No matter the level, hockey’s sure to keep you entertained with its fast-paced action and thrilling goals.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.