How Many Periods in Hockey? Unlock the Game’s Structure!

Hockey is an exciting and fast-paced sport that captivates fans all around the world. One of the unique aspects of hockey is its division of gameplay into distinct periods. If you’re new to hockey or just looking to brush up on your knowledge, you may be wondering, “How many periods are there in a hockey game?” Let’s dive into this question and explore the structure of a typical hockey game.

The Standard Number of Periods in Hockey

In most professional and organized hockey games, there are typically three periods. Each period consists of 20 minutes of gameplay, making for a total game time of 60 minutes. These three periods are essential for teams to showcase their skills, strategies, and teamwork on the ice.

Intermissions Between Periods

Between each period, there is a break known as an intermission. These intermissions allow players to rest, hydrate, and receive instructions from their coaches. The length of intermissions can vary depending on the level of play and the specific rules of the league or competition.

Overtime and Shootouts

While most hockey games consist of three periods, there are instances where games may require additional play to determine a winner. In the case of a tie at the end of regulation time, teams may go into overtime. Overtime periods are typically shorter than standard periods and provide an opportunity for sudden-death gameplay.

If a winner is still not determined after overtime, some leagues implement a shootout. During a shootout, selected players from each team take turns attempting to score on the opposing team’s goaltender. The team with the most goals at the end of the shootout is declared the winner.

How Many Periods in Hockey? Unlock the Game's Structure!

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International Variations

While three periods are standard in most hockey leagues, there are variations in certain international competitions. For example, some international tournaments may feature four periods instead of three. These variations add a unique element to the game and showcase the diversity of hockey across different regions.

Benefits of Three Periods

The division of hockey games into three periods offers several advantages for players, coaches, and fans. These benefits include:

  • Structured gameplay that allows for strategic planning and adjustments
  • Opportunities for teams to regroup and refocus between periods
  • Excitement and anticipation as the game progresses through each period
  • A clear format that is easy for fans to follow and understand
How Many Periods in Hockey? Unlock the Game's Structure!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Periods Are There In Hockey?

Hockey is typically played in three periods, each lasting 20 minutes.

Are There Any Breaks Between Periods?

Yes, there is a 15-minute intermission between the first and second periods, as well as the second and third periods.

Can Overtime Periods Be Played In Hockey?

Yes, if the game is tied at the end of regulation time, there can be one or more sudden-death overtime periods until a winner is determined.

How Long Are The Overtime Periods?

In regular season NHL games, overtime periods are five minutes long. In playoff games, overtime periods are 20 minutes long.


In conclusion, the standard number of periods in a hockey game is three, with each period lasting 20 minutes. These periods, along with intermissions and the potential for overtime and shootouts, contribute to the dynamic and thrilling nature of hockey. Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a newcomer to the sport, understanding the structure of hockey games enhances the overall viewing experience. So, next time you tune in to watch a hockey game, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the game’s unique format and intensity.

Curious about conversions? You might also like to read: “How Many Ounces in a Quarter Pound? Unveil the Mystery Now!”

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