Ice Hockey Periods

How Many Ice Hockey Periods Are There?

You might be wondering about Ice Hockey Periods and how they work? Well, you’re at the right place! When it comes to Ice Hockey, a lot of the details about the game are unique and fascinating, that’s where the game periods come into the picture.

Unlike a lot of other sports on the planet, Ice hockey’s game duration is divided into specific periods with a standard amount of time.

We will dive deeply into the details of these periods, the amount of them in a standard NHL game, and how other time scenarios and gameplay have their implications on them. Let’s start!

What Is A Period In Ice Hockey?

Ice hockey periods are essentially the same as the halves in a soccer game. They are broken up into specific time increments with set rules that must be followed.

Ice Hockey Periods

The main difference is that soccer has 2 halves while Ice hockey has 3 periods. In Ice Hockey, periods are an important part of the game and must be followed in order to maintain fair play.

Each period is 20 minutes long with a 15-minute and 30-second intermission between periods. If a game is tied at the end of regulation, then overtime will be played.

Moreover, each period in Ice Hockey is 20 minutes long, running clockwise. That means that the clock will continue to run even if the puck is not in play. Surely, there are a few exceptions when the clock is stopped, which we will discuss next:

Does The Clock Ever Stop During The Period?

There are a few specific instances when the clock is stopped in Ice Hockey. The most common is when there is a stoppage in play. This could be because of a penalty, a goal, or an injury. When the clock is stopped, it will restart when the puck is dropped.

Another time when the clock stops is during the intermission. This happens at the end of each period and lasts for 15 minutes and 30 seconds. Finally, if there is overtime then the clock will stop at the end of each overtime period until a team scores.

How Much Is The Stoppage Time In Ice Hockey?

A stoppage-time in Ice Hockey is the time when the clock is stopped. This happens when there is a penalty, a goal, or an injury. The amount of time given to make substitutions also varies depending on the stoppage.

For example, if there is a stoppage for a goal, each team will have 90 seconds to make substitutions. If there is a stoppage for a penalty, then each team will have 30 seconds to make substitutions.

If there is an injury, then the team will have up to 60 seconds to make substitutions.

Ice Hockey Periods

What And How Long Is An Intermission?

An intermission in Ice Hockey is the break between periods. It lasts for 15 minutes and 30 seconds in NHL. And there are 2 intermissions in an NHL game. During the intermission, teams are allowed to make substitutions and the clock is stopped.

Ice Hockey Periods; Recreation & Youth Games

In youth Ice Hockey, the periods are typically shorter in duration. They are usually 10-12 minutes long, with a shorter intermission between periods. This helps to keep the game moving and ensures that all players are able to participate for a longer period of time.

In recreation games, the period duration can vary depending on the level of play. However, most recreation games follow a similar format to youth Ice Hockey with shorter periods and intermissions.

Periods & Overtime in NHL Playoffs:

There are typically 5 periods in NHL Play-Offs. This includes the 3 periods in the standard game, and then 2 additional periods in overtime. The overtime periods are each 20 minutes long, and the clock runs continuously. If there is still no winner at the end of overtime, then a shootout will take place to determine the winner.

The shootout is a best-of-three format, where each team takes turns trying to score on the other team’s goalie. The team with the most goals after three rounds is declared the winner. If it is still tied after three rounds, then it will go to a sudden-death format.

In the sudden-death format, each team takes turns trying to score on the other team’s goalie. The first team to score wins the game.

Why There Are 3 Periods In Ice Hockey?

Ice Hockey has three periods for a few reasons. The first is that it ensures that each team gets a fair amount of playing time. This is important in Ice Hockey because the game can be fast-paced and there are few breaks in between plays. The second reason is that it helps to keep the game moving. With shorter periods, players are constantly getting on and off the ice which keeps the game exciting.

Periods In Ice Hockey

But before 1910, there used to be traditional halves in Ice Hockey too, each half consisted of 30 minutes, and each game comprised of two halves. Due to the condition of the ice rink, it was difficult to continue the gameplay without cleaning the Ice, that’s when 20-minute periods were introduced. Now you know why there’s a Zamboni cleaning Ice in the Intermissions after every period!

Is There Any Other Sport With The Period System?

Floorball and Ice Hockey are two sports that use a period system to keep the game moving. In Floorball, there are typically three periods in a game, just like Ice Hockey.

The periods are also usually 20 minutes long, with a shorter intermission between periods. However, in Floorball there is no overtime period and if the game is tied at the end of regulation, then it will go to a shootout.


We are here at the end, which makes us sad to bid you goodbye for now. But we learned quite a lot today. Now you know, all the basic details about the Ice Hockey periods. This turns out to be a fascinating area of the game as we looked closely today.

We consider it important to understand the game we love and try to gain knowledge about it. We’ve got you covered for that. Stay tuned for more informative Ice Hockey posts, or visit our Ice Hockey section here!

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