How Many Period In Ice Hockey? (Detailed Explanation!)

Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Alex PT

There are 3 periods in an ice hockey game. Each period is 20 minutes long, with a 15-minute intermission between periods. If the game is tied at the end of regulation, a 5-minute overtime period is played. If the game is still tied after overtime, a shootout is used to determine the winner.

Why Are There Three Periods And Not Two Halves?

Why Are There Three Periods And Not Two Halves

Originally, ice hockey has not always been played in three 20-minute periods. As a matter of fact, this classic sport started with two 30-minute halves with an intermission in-between just like soccer. It is believed that the modification from two 30-minute halves with an intermission in between to three 20-minute periods started in the early 1900s. It was the establishment of NHA which is a competitor and predecessor to the NHL that brought about the concept of three periods. 

The Table Below Is A Real-time Flow Of How The Periods Of Hockey Will Flow At The Professional Level :

National Anthem7:00 pm
Puck Drop for Start of First Period7:05
First Intermission7:45
Puck Drop for Start of Second Period8:00
Second Intermission8:40
Puck Drop for Start of Third Period8:55
End of Game9:35


Additional Periods: Overtime

If a game is tied at the end of regulation periods in a regular-season game, then officials will add an overtime period that lasts only for 5 minutes. Normally, the intermission between the overtime and the third period. The game starts immediately after the end of regulation. If after the 5 additional minutes no team was able to score, then a penalty shootout will be added to decide the winner. 

Most Periods Ever In An NHL Game

The Table Below Consist Of The List Of Hockey Games With The Most Overtime Periods Played. 

Home TeamOppositionOvertime PeriodsDateScoreTotal Length
Montreal MaroonsDetroit Red Wings624th of March, 19360-1176:30
Toronto Maple LeafsBoston Bruins63rd of April, 19331-0164:46
Pittsburgh PenguinsPhiladelphia Flyers54th of May, 20001-2152:01
Tampa Bay LightningColumbus Blue Jackets511th of August, 20203-2150:27
Dallas StarsAnaheim Mighty Ducks524th of April, 20033-4140:48
Washington CapitalsPittsburgh Penguins524th April, 19962-3139:15
Vancouver CanucksDallas Stars411th of April, 20075-4138:06
Detroit Red WingsToronto Maple Leafs423rd of March, 19432-3130:18
Dallas StarsSan Jose Sharks44th of May, 20082-1129:03
Montreal CanadiensNew York Rangers428th of March, 19302-1128:52
Washington CapitalsNew York Islanders418th of April, 19872-3128:47
Buffalo SabresNew Jersey Devils427th of April, 19971-0125:43
Detroit Red WingsMontreal Canadiens427th of March, 19512-3121:09
New York RangersNew York Americans427th of March, 19382-3120:40


We’ve composed a list of the frequently asked questions and answers to give you a better understanding of the ice hockey game. 

How Many Periods In A Recreational Ice Hockey Game?

At a recreational ice hockey level, most games are divided into 3 periods. However, 3-on-3 leagues with shorter allocated time blocks sometimes use two periods. Basically, the time taken to resurface the ice is the major difference between recreational and professional league games. It is only at the start of each game that recreational leagues Zamboni the ice. If not for the fact that the rink surface accumulates a lot of snow at the 3rd period, the real-time won’t be elongated. In recreational leagues, the ice rink is being used for just over 60 minutes in real-time play. However, in professional leagues, the ice rink is being used for just about 120 minutes in real-time play. 

How Is Ice Hockey Played?

Ice hockey is a team sport played by two opposing teams on the ice rink. The players skate on the ice at high speeds with ice skates on their feet. They push, shoot or pass a puck around the ice with hockey sticks. The object of the game is to score more points than your opposing team by shooting the puck into their net. 

How Many Ice Hockey Players Are On The Ice?

Six players from each team play on the ice at any one time. The lineup is normally; a netminder, two defencemen, and three forwards. Substitutions can be made at any time during the game. A complete ice hockey team is usually made up of between seventeen and twenty-two players.

Final Thoughts

Just like we said earlier, there are three periods that last for about twenty minutes each with two intermissions lasting 15 minutes each in a game of ice hockey. Officials will add an overtime period that lasts only for 5 minutes if a game is tied at the end of regulation periods in a regular-season game. However, a penalty shootout will only be required if no team is able to score after the 5 additional minutes. We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good resources in your quest to know the number of periods in ice hockey. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks


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