When Do NHL Warmup Start?
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Ice Hockey Warmup: When Do NHL Warmups Start?

NHL warmups are part of ice hockey. There are a few minutes in which players come out to prepare for the main game on the ice. Usually, players begin warmup off the ice around the arena before they come out for warmup on the ice. The warmups on the ice are a way for players to get familiar with the ice and for spectators to see their favourite players into action before the game. 

Time Table Of NHL Games

Time Table Of NHL Games

The NHL has a structured time allocation schedule that is followed in each game. The first event that occurs is the pre-game warmup which last 16 minutes. 

Warmups in the NHL start exactly 31 minutes before the start of a game and lasts for 16 minutes. During this period, the players of each time come onto the time and perform several drills and stretches in preparation for the game.

After the pre-game warmup, the NHL teams exit the ice. But this time, they come out to begin the match.

Although this is the usual pattern, it is very flexible, especially with the addition of other activities, such as retiring a jersey number. 

Game Time7:00 pm7:30 pm1:00 pm
Pre-Game Warmup Starts6:29 pm6:59 pm12:29 pm
Pre-Game Warm-up Ends6:45 pm7:15 pm12:45 pm
Start 15 Minutes Clock Countdown6:50:30 pm7:20:30 pm12:50:30 pm
Clock Hits 0:007:05:30 pm7:35:30 pm1:05:30 pm
Anthem Introduction7:05:40 pm7:35:40 pm1:05:40 pm
Opening Faceoff7:08 pm7:38 pm1:08 pm

NHL games often start by 7:00 pm local time in any city they are played in. But it can be extended by thirty minutes to 7:30 pm in a few instances. 

However, when a matinee game is played, NHL matches can be scheduled for 1:00 pm.

What Do Players Do During Warmups

What Do Players Do During Warmups

During warmups, players indulge in a lot of activities to prepare themselves for the game. The first activity they perform is warmup exercises and drills, focusing more on stretches and hip mobility workouts

At the start of the pre-game warmup, each NHL team take up their side of the ice, starting from the red centre line all the way to the end of the ice. Typically, players start-up by sprinting around their side of the ice, after which stretches of their lower body muscles begin.

Since they mostly use their lower body, ice hockey players focus on stretching to ensure they don’t have cramped muscles during the game. Upper body stretches, such as cobra stretches, among others, are also done.

Next, forwards work on their shooting and stickhandling by firing shots towards their goalie from different positions on their part of the ice. 

After this, the players move on ahead to practice collective team drills. These team drills also help each section of the team prepare for the game. 

While on the ice for warmups, every player on the ice knows what they should be doing. It is part of their training to practice certain individual and collective drills while on the ice. 

Reasons To Attend NHL Warmups

Reasons To Attend NHL Warmups

NHL warmups are a great time to witness the closeup action of your favourite NHL players. During warmups, spectators are allowed to move down to the plexiglass wall dividing the rink from the rest of the arena. 

So it doesn’t matter where your seats are; you get an opportunity to get a close-up view of ice hockey players. It is especially good for newbies to the sport. This is because it allows them to be able to differentiate and identify players. 

Also, the closeness at that point allows you to see first-hand how fast NHL players actually play. As a hockey enthusiast, the chills I get from the loud echo made by hitting the puck during the pre-game warmups are intense. 

It is something that I am sure you will love to experience.

Lastly, pre-games show a bit of insight into what the game might hold, as there are sometimes heated discussions and trash talks between rival players. 

Some Rules Of NHL Warmups

It is counted as an offence for a player to interfere with his opposing team’s warmup by moving into their side of the ice. However, this does not mean they do not skate up to the red line.

In fact, sometimes, skaters go up to the red line to trash-talk each other before the game commences. It is part of a method of getting into the head of the opposing team before the start of the match. 

Players also do this to let the opposing team know that they are going to retaliate because of a beef or incident that occurred in their previous game together.

However, the punishment for moving into the section of the ice for the opposing team is a suspension from the game

Example Of On-Ice NHL Pre-Game Warmup Stretches and Exercises

Example Of On-Ice NHL Pre-Game Warmup Stretches and Exercises

Skating Across The Ice

This is the basic warmup drill every ice hockey skater performs on the ice. It just involves skating as fast as you can around the edges of the ice. 

This warms up your leg muscles and puts them in a state of activeness. 

Warmup Stretches 1

This warmup is very popular among players in the NHL. This is how you do it

  • Start by kneeing downward, placing your hands on the ground but ensure you look forward
  • Spread your knees until you start to feel the stretch along the muscles around your groins
  • Keep the position for a few seconds

Warmup Stretches 2

Start by standing flat on your back with your stands spread horizontally on the ice. Raise your leg from the ground and spread them wide apart. 

Maintain this position for a while and move on to the next stretch. 

Cobra Stretch

To perform a cobra stretch, lay flat on the ice with your palm placed close to your body as if you want to perform a push-up. 

Use your hand to lift your upper body upward so that your lower body remains on the ground. Ensure your upper body is vertical to the ground and your eyes are facing forward.

Superman Dive

Superman Dive is another warm-up drill that focuses on preparing players for falling on the ice. 

So this is how you perform the warmup. Start by skating on the ice and then diving unto the ice. After sliding on the ice for a bit, stand up quickly and repeat the process.  

Related Post: Best Lower-Body Workout For Ice Hockey Players


During warmup, every player on a team partakes in the warmup. Generally, the pre-game warmup is a fun part of the game I would advise spectators to attend. If you have not been to one, I will advise you to attend one and see for yourself how fun it is. 

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