How Long Is An Hockey Game In The NHL?

Whether you have live game tickets or a pay-per-view subscription with friends coming over, knowing how long a hockey game will go will help you to organize refreshments and an after-party accordingly.

How long should you anticipate spending at a hockey game if you intend on attending?

As with every other sport, the real playing time surpasses the specified minutes.

A regulation ice hockey game contains 60 minutes of total playing time.

Taking into account all stoppages, intermissions, and possibly overtime, the real playing duration is around 2.5 to 3 hours.

This article continues by discussing how to maximize your watching experience during an NHL game, including what to dress, what meals to expect, and how to stay safe.

If you cannot attend the game, the following suggestions will maximize your enjoyment at home.

How Long Is A Hockey Game In The NHL?

A typical NHL game lasts for two and a half hours, with sixty minutes of play and extra time added for overtime if required.

Intermissions, formalities, and pauses are allotted the remaining time.

This also applies to leagues like the AHL, ECHL, and European leagues. A standard NHL game consists of 60 minutes of play.

The game is divided into three pieces of 20 minutes each.

If the game is tied at the end of the regular, there will be a further five minutes of overtime, and if it remains tied after that, there will be a shootout.

This whole game takes longer than 60 minutes, between 2.5 and 3 hours.

Several variables, including stoppages in play for rule breaches, compulsory television timeouts (two per quarter), and intermissions, add to the prolonging of the game.

Several variables might affect the length of time spent at the rink while playing hockey.

When predicting the amount of time you will spend at a young hockey game if you are new to hockey, you should consider the following game components.

Pre-Game And Warmups

Expect to arrive for early than the game's real start time if you are sending your youngster off for a game.

Parents often drop off their children and return to watch the game, but if you prefer to remain, you may have to wait up to an extra hour.

Before a game begins, both sides have time to warm up and familiarise themselves with the rink.

Warm-up sessions for each side typically last between 2 and 5 minutes.

The warm-up periods vary based on the classification of the league.

Smoothing The Ice

Usually, the Zamboni will be on the ice before the start of a game.

Occasionally, if the ice becomes rough, another run will occur during the inter-period break.

Typically, it takes less than ten minutes for a Zamboni to smooth out an entire rink.

However, if this occurs during a break, it might extend your time at the rink.

Occasionally, the gameplay might be delayed if a Zamboni driver is tardy or absent.

It makes a significant difference to skate on smooth ice, and it is safer for your children not to skate on an uneven surface.


There are intermissions between each session of play in certain leagues. These intermissions might range from 3 to 15 minutes in duration.

In addition, the number of intermissions might differ across leagues. Therefore, these breaks might lengthen your game-viewing experience.

However, these interlude moments are essential for youngsters to relax, drink water, and eat.

After a short interval, it is always entertaining to watch the youngsters reenergized and able to shift the tide of a game.

Scoring Extends The Game Time

The game clock is stopped after a goal is scored. The remaining time in the term freezes as soon as the referee verifies the goal.

After a goal is confirmed or overturned, the players reset and the puck is re-dropped. The clock begins after the puck has been dropped.

Tips For Attending Your First NHL Game

If this is your first NHL game, you will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you prepare enough, you will leave the occasion with good memories.

Below are the most crucial factors to consider before attending the game.

In addition, please read our blog article on how early you should come for a hockey game.

Wear Your Team Colors

Hockey jerseys and team outfits may not be available if you come with little notice for your first game.

To demonstrate your support, though, you need just don your team's colors. Shirts with the majority of the team's colors are acceptable.

Some fans paint their faces with their favorite team's colors.

To indicate team support, it is recommended to wear anything other than plain apparel, but many people do so.

Bring The Markup

When visiting a sports event, bear in mind that concessions will be priced differently than at a shop.

This is the same as the concession stand seen at movie theatres. Bring along more funds and be mentally prepared to spend more.

Schedule Your Cheat Day

The bulk of stadium food consists of hamburgers, hotdogs, and beer, therefore if you are dieting, the game day should be your cheat day.

The healthiest thing offered is popcorn.

Since there will be oily food, it is suggested that you consume some lukewarm water to help with digestion.

And although alcohol is readily accessible during the game, it is essential to keep hydrated.

Book Travel In Advance

If you drive to the game, you may be tempted to drink alcohol, which may impair your driving skills on the way home.

Therefore, you should either go in a group with a designated driver or use Uber.

It could be a lost bet to rely on willpower to drink coke when everyone else drinks deer.

If you use alcohol regularly, you should not drive to the game. In addition, you will not need to find parking.

Take A Good Camera

It is not required that the game is in the postseason for you to build memories.

The last thing you want to do is take a blurry selfie with a player, as anything may happen!

Bring a high-quality camera, and if your smartphone has a resolution of at least 13 megapixels, verify that it has a full battery and enough memory.

What To Anticipate During An NHL Game

Being mentally prepared or even enthused about a certain aspect of live sports culture is part of being prepared before attending a game.

Here is what you can expect to discover in the arena.

Booing From Opponent’s Fans

Yes, a full-scale vibe war exists between your squad and the team they are playing.

Keep a safe distance from fan conflicts, since they may swiftly escalate into violence.

Standard Rock Music

Those who like AC/DC or Queen will be pleased. A substantial quantity of rock music is played throughout the whole game.

Moreover, if these tunes make you grimace, it may be prudent to get a pair of headphones.

Playoff Beards

Professional hockey players and dedicated fans share an unusual superstition.

Teams who qualify for the playoffs do not shave until they are eliminated from contention or win the Stanley Cup.

However, not only sportsmen develop this transient facial hair; even the most devoted fans do as well. Be prepared to be enveloped with facial hair.

How To Stay Safe At An NHL Game

Hockey is well-known for several reasons, including its unconventional fan base.

On the bright side, you will witness creatively attired folks, but if you are not cautious, you may be in danger.

The following precautions must be taken when attending a live game:

Always remain in well-lit environments. Wearing "enemy colors" in an area where you are less apparent may pose a threat.

Travel with companions. Going alone may provoke controversy, especially if you pick the wrong seats.

Not often, rise before others behind you have also done so. Obstructing a person's view may result in an argument.

It is OK to stand and applaud when all others are doing likewise. Don't boo or curse.

There's a strong chance you'll hear booing from both sides but bear in mind that those you boo may eventually catch up with you.

If you are alone yourself, you should avoid participating in a "fan war." Everyone who boos is undoubtedly accompanied by friends.

Watch A Televised Game

Not every fan has tickets to every NHL game.

The National Hockey League earns a substantial portion of its revenue from televised games and pay-per-view purchases.

Therefore, you may be either hosting or attending a viewing party.

In addition to setting aside three hours to prepare for the game, additional preparation is required. This section covers these essential preparations.

Bring Food/Drink Along With You

If you are invited to a gathering to watch a sporting event, do not show up empty-handed.

Even if the host instructs you not to bring any food, you do not want to be the only visitor without food if other guests bring food.

Due to the duration of the game, a substantial amount of food is necessary.

In addition, donating food transforms the occasion into a potluck, which boosts its variety.

Get An Online Pay-Per-View

You do not want to miss any of the action if you are utilizing a television service provider to watch the game and the power or cable goes out.

With a pay-per-view purchase, you may access the game on your laptop or mobile device.

The presence of a backup will bring peace of mind.

Don’t Eat Everything At Once

The 15-minute intermissions of broadcast NHL games are prolonged to 17 minutes.

You should not drink too much food early on, since you may have a sugar crash or fatigue during the second intermission when the action will begin to pick up.

Instead, divide the food delivery over three hours so that you may graze.

Participate In Social Media Activity

Even if watching a game at home may not give the same degree of community interaction as attending a game in person, you may promote discourse online, especially on Twitter.

By connecting to the website and tweeting with relevant hashtags, you will not lose connection with the action during commercial breaks.

Final Thoughts

If you are prepared to watch your first NHL game, you are likely about to start on a journey that will transform you into a die-hard fan.

This three-hour event will likely be unlike any you have ever experienced.

Everything is so addictive, from fan culture to the thrill of a live game, that you will want to return for more.