How Many Periods In Ice Hockey And Field Hockey (Well Explained!)

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by Alex PT

In ice hockey, there are three periods, each lasting 20 minutes. In field hockey, the game is divided into two halves, typically 35 minutes each, for a total of 70 minutes of play.

How Many Periods In Ice Hockey And Field Hockey

Both ice hockey and field hockey are adored by millions of fans globally. Part of their appeal lies in their unique structures, specifically the ebb and flow of play defined by “periods”. However, the two sports differ in their period counts, rules, and game durations. Here’s a detailed comparison:

1. Ice Hockey

  • Number of Periods: Mainstream ice hockey games consist of three (3) periods.
  • Duration: Each period in professional leagues, such as the National Hockey League (NHL), lasts 20 minutes. Conversely, in youth leagues, periods might be just 15 or even 12 minutes long.
  • Intermissions: Between these periods, there are typically two 17-minute intermissions. This gives players a chance to rest and strategists an opportunity to revise game plans.

2. Field Hockey

  • Number of Quarters: Field hockey, as per the International Hockey Federation (FIH) rules, is broken down into four (4) quarters.
  • Duration: Each quarter is typically 15 minutes long, giving a total playing time of 60 minutes.
  • Halftime and Breaks: There is a break of 2 minutes between the 1st and 2nd quarter and another between the 3rd and 4th quarter. A longer break, or halftime, of 10-15 minutes comes at the halfway mark between the 2nd and 3rd quarters.

The Differences Between Field and Ice Hockey

AspectField HockeyIce Hockey
Playing SurfaceGrass or artificial turf fieldIce rink
EquipmentBall, field hockey stick, shin guards, mouthguardPuck, ice hockey stick, helmet, pads, gloves
Skating vs. RunningPlayers run on the fieldPlayers skate on ice
Position of GoalkeeperThe Goalkeeper is typically behind the netThe Goalkeeper plays in front of the net
Duration of GameTwo halves, usually 35 minutes eachThree periods, 20 minutes each, with breaks
Face-offsNone, typically free hits or long cornersFrequent face-offs to start play or after stops
Offside RuleNo offside ruleStrict offside rule
Physical ContactLimited body contactPhysical body checking allowed
Penalty CornersAwarded for fouls near the opponent’s goalPenalties result in power plays (penalty kill)
ScoringGoals scored by hitting the ball into the netGoals scored by shooting the puck into the net
StoppagesFewer stoppages, continuous playMore frequent stoppages, line changes


We’ve made a list of the frequently asked questions and answers for a better understanding of the game of ice hockey and field hockey. Let’s go through them! 

Can A Hockey Game End In A Tie?

No! Ice hockey games can’t end in a tie again, since the new shootout rule provides a winner in every game. The two teams will engage in a shootout if the game remains tied after the five-minute, four-on-four overtime period. Furthermore, the penalty shootout involves three players taking the penalty shots against the opposing goalie. 

Has Anyone Died Playing Hockey?

Yes! Masterson is the only player in NFL history to die as a result of a serious injury suffered on the ice rink. He died on the 15th of January, 30 hours after he fell on the ice. Ron Harris, an NHL player who was responsible for Masterton’s injury felt really bad and haunted. 

Will NHL Players Be In The 2022 Olympics?

Hopefully! But the good news is that the NHLPA, IIHF, and IOC have announced that the NHL, which is the world’s top hockey league will be included in the list of sports in the Olympics. It is the first time since the 2014 Olympics that the NHL will appear again in the world-famous event. 

Is It Legal To Fight In The NHL?

Fighting isn’t allowed in most competitive sports around the world. However, the game of hockey allows fighting since it’s part of “The Code”. Note that the referee can still determine appropriate penalties after a fight according to rule 46 of the NHL rule book.

Has Any NHL Team Won 3 Cups In A Row?

The Maple Leafs is the only NHL team to win the cup three times in a row. They defeated Montreal in 1947 to claim their first cup. In 1948, they also defeated Detroit to win their second cup. Lastly, they made history when they defeated Detroit again in 1949 to become the first team to win three in a row.

Is Field Hockey A Girl Sport?

Not really! But the truth remains that field hockey is mainly perceived as a women’s sport in the U.S. and Canada. In these two countries, there are about 250 colleges and universities with a team.

Which NHL Team Has Won The Stanley Cup The Most Times?

The Montreal Canadiens have won the trophy a total of 24 times, making them the only team with the highest Stanley Cup titles. By the way, the Canadiens team was established in 1909, having been the oldest ice hockey team. The team remains the only NHL team to predate the establishment of the NHL itself.

What Country Invented Hockey?

In the mid-18th century, England invented the modern game of hockey. Not long after, people started attributing the birth of the game of hockey to the growth of public schools like Eton. In 1876, the first set of rules was developed after the establishment of the first Hockey Association in the UK. 

Can Professional Hockey Players Play In The Olympics?

Yes! Back in 1986, professional hockey players were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games starting in 1988 after being voted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In the next Olympics, NHL teams will be participants with full support from IOC and NHL

How Thick Is The Ice In NHL?

The ice in NHL is usually frozen at 16 degrees Fahrenheit and approximately 3/4″ of an inch thick. By the way, the ice becomes softer and slower depending on its thickness. 

How Long Is A Minor Penalty In Hockey?

A minor penalty is two minutes long. By the way, minor penalties include spearing, high sticking, elbowing slashing, roughing, holding, tripping, charging, hooking, and boarding,

How Many Players Can Be On The Ice During An NHL Hockey Game?

An NHL hockey game involves two teams competing on an ice rink with 6 players each wearing skates. The object of ice hockey is to score more points than the opposition team by propelling the puck, a vulcanized rubber disk, into a net guarded by a goaltender. 

Closing Thoughts 

Both ice hockey and field hockey have periods with rest intermissions between periods. Ice hockey has three twenty-minutes periods while field hockey has just two thirty-five minutes periods. We’ve reached the closing chapter of this informative article. We hope you were able to find good and reliable resources in your quest to know the number of periods in ice hockey and field hockey. If you have any questions or comments about the article topic, don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks!


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