How Many Periods in Hockey?

Most of the sports games are played in halves or quarters. While in hockey, the game lasts for periods. The use of periods is more significant because of its easy understanding than quarters or halves. How many periods in Hockey? Does every period have the same time length? Does the period consist of any overtime?

The NHL game contains periods three in number. Every period includes the length of 20 minutes at the NHL stage. The hockey period is for amusement, and the young players have a length of time of at least 15 to 20 minutes. Whenever a tie occurs between both teams after playing for three periods, a short period exists to settle down the connection within 5 minutes. But sometimes it increases to 20 minutes as no team skips the goal.

Do NHL hockey games always contain three periods?

It not only lasts for three periods. Before the 1910-11 season, the hockey game consisted of about two periods of 30 minutes. Ice quality forced the leaders to divide the hockey periods into three rather than two. That’s why the NHL decided to materialize the ice through Zamboni after 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes. Moreover, when players play on the ice for more time, ice will break into pieces because it becomes soft and can cause significant damage for players. Players face difficulty moving on ice because of the more significant amount of friction.Moreover, the sticks at the players’ shoes fail to play fast because of high friction. 

Due to high friction, ice starts to break in chips that cause severe injuries to hockey players. The players’ shoes or hockey sticks can both be stuck into the gap produced by breakage that will cause a sprain in players’ ankles. Due to this, playing is not possible and causes severe leg injuries.

The period’s time is about 20 minutes. But players spend almost 40-45 minutes on the ice in reality. This time contains many breaks off like goals, injuries, punishments, break time, and various other things.

The NHL provides a gap between periods to reset the ice surface, which is 10 minutes long. At last, it reached 17 minutes.

The reappearance of Ice:

As you have read in the above part, the gap is taken to reset the ice surface, giving you the best state to play.

Relax time and Reassemble Team

Coaches and players go to their rest areas to set their team uniform at the waiting time between two periods. Moreover, team coaches change some methods and also reassemble their players.

Recess time:

This time is set especially for the audience to take food, drinks, and snacks from shops. People feel hungry as the game lasts for more than 2 hours and 30 minutes. Furthermore, many people are fond of drinking, so they need a break to go to the bathroom. While, if you have ever watched matches in a stadium, especially an ice hockey match, you must know how this time is essential to the audience.


Many commercials appeared for those who watch matches at home, sometimes for promotions. The league uses the gap for the promotion of sponsors through ads. This is an additional time besides the time out of every period. 

The audience sees the scoreboard during the ads of sponsors’ promotions.

We decide after viewing the place whether to give free t-shirts or rafters to viewers through sponsors.  

Will the NHL game finish within three periods?

Many other professional games and NHL can last more than three periods. A regulation period is also known as game time as you read before that game lasts for 6o minutes, that is three periods. If a tie exists, the game will also take extra time to finish the tie between both teams. 

If the tie occurs, a 5 minute period takes to finish the tie. The team plays 3-on-3. If the game scores get equal marks again, then a shootout happens. Ice has to resurface after the 3rd period.

In the championship, rules are different from other games by a second tie. After the tie, both teams go to the dressing room to refresh themselves. The period of this break is about 15 minutes. Now, after the break the game starts again; this extra time lasts for 20 minutes, having players 5-on-5.

Rules of overtime for NHL Playoff 

In the NHL, the rules of overtime are different for playoffs.

  • Period of overtime contains a time length of 20 minutes.
  • Five-on-five games exist.
  • No shootout occurs here 

In case the score of both the teams is again equal in the overtime playoff, then again 20 minutes overtime exists. This period ended when one team scored the goal, and the other lost the goal, then achieved less. Therefore, playoff games take more time than simple season games.

Working of Shootout in Hockey:

Players of both teams must move the puck by skating to the other side of the goal without any protectors.In the NHL ordinary session, each team takes three shots for the shootout part. It means one team has a goal first. After the first team shots, the other one tries to shoot the puck on the opponent’s plan to win.

After these three shots, the shootout phase will transform into a sudden death phase if the tie appears again. In this phase, each team has given one more attempt to play. The team that scores by moving the puck to the goal wins.Again if a tie occurs or both teams gain equal scores, a shootout occurs until only one group wins the match.

We first saw the shootout concept in 2005-2006, the NHL standard season games. The overtime season changes to the shootout season because of the identical scores.

This way produces a certain amount of pressure on the people like coaches, audience, and most importantly, players. Sometimes, it lasts for a long time to end appropriately. 

The result should not solely depend on the performance of one individual match but also on the team’s performance that works like a uint. Maybe this is why the National Hockey League doesn’t need a shootout in playoffs where the amount of ties is more significant.