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How Many Quarters Are in a Hockey Game?

    How many quarters in hockey game

    A hockey game is made up of three 20-minute periods, with up to two additional minutes added for certain stoppages of play. That means each period comprises four quarters in total – three regular quarters and a single overtime quarter if necessary.

    The length of the quarters can be adjusted by coaches or referees depending on the needs of the match, making it possible for a single hockey game to have more than four quarters.

    How many quarters in hockey game
    Source: Wikimedia

    Let’s look closer at the concept of quarters in a hockey game and how many are typically included in a match.

    How Many Quarters in Hockey?

    In hockey, the typical game is divided into three periods 20-minute each, with each period comprising four quarters.

    That makes twelve quarters across the entire game, including overtime if necessary.

    two young men playing a game of field hockey
    Photo by Pablo Arenas on Unsplash

    The length of the quarters can be adjusted depending on the need and time remaining in the match, so there could be more or less than twelve quarters in a single hockey game.

    Despite the potential for variation, however, most hockey games have twelve quarters that are split into three 20-minute periods.

    It helps to keep the game flowing and allows teams enough time to make adjustments as needed. As such, it is an important part of any competitive match.

    Overall, the number of quarters in a hockey game can vary depending on the needs of the match.

    In most cases, however, there are three 20-minute periods made up of four quarters each, giving twelve across the entire game.

    It helps keep the game fair and ensures that teams have enough time to adjust.

    Why Hockey Games are Played in Three Periods?

    The structure of a hockey game is designed to encourage solid defensive play while also allowing offensive players room to move and create chances.

    It helps to keep the game exciting for fans, as it is not too defensive nor too offensive. Each team has time to adjust and develop new strategies over the three periods, making for an unpredictable and thrilling match.

    Playing in a structure of three 20-minute periods also allows teams enough time to make the necessary adjustments to their gameplay and tactics – thus helping to make for a fair, well-balanced match.

    Intermissions between Periods

    An intermission separates each of the three periods, usually two minutes long. It allows teams to rest and recuperate in preparation for the next period.

    During this break, coaches can talk with their players and discuss any improvements or changes that need to be made during the next period.

    The break also allows players to relieve any fatigue or muscle strain they may have accumulated during the game.

    Intermission times may be extended if necessary, such as for longer stoppages of play due to injuries or disciplinary actions.

    It helps to keep the game fair and allows teams to regroup in between periods.

    Does Hockey Ever Have Two Halves or Four Quarters?

    While it is possible to have more or less than twelve quarters depending on the needs of the match, most hockey games have three 20-minute periods with four quarters each.

    It is, therefore, unlikely that there will be two halves or four quarters in a standard hockey game – although this could be adjusted depending on the time or specific circumstances of a match.

    What are the NHL’s overtime rules?

    The NHL’s overtime rules are designed to provide an equitable solution when a game remains tied after regulation play.

    In the regular season, if teams are still even after 3 periods of 20 minutes each, overtime is played in a 4-on-4 format for 5 minutes.

    During that time, the team who scores first wins with no shootout required. If teams are still tied after overtime, a shootout will be used to determine the winner.

    In the playoffs, overtime is played in a 3-on-3 format for 20 minutes or until the first goal is scored.

    It ensures an exciting race to the finish and often results in wild, back-and-forth action between teams until one finally breaks through and takes home the victory.

    The NHL’s overtime rules are an essential part of the game and have provided some of hockey’s most thrilling moments for generations of fans.

    Can a Hockey game last longer than 3 Periods?

    Yes, a hockey game can last longer than 3 periods.

    Depending on the level of play and the rules in place, professional games can have four periods or even an overtime period if the game is tied after regulation.

    In amateur play, some leagues may allow for additional periods to be played until a winner is decided.

    Overtime consists of three-on-three play for five minutes, or a shootout if the game is still tied after that.

    Ultimately, it depends on the specific rules of each league or tournament.

    Hockey games can last longer than three periods and are often decided by an exciting overtime or third period in.

    Overtime in field hockey (Why overtime and timeout are provided?)

    Overtime is a common feature in field hockey matches, allowing teams to resolve tied games.

    These sessions involve extra time allocated at the end of regular play, giving both teams the chance to score and secure a victory.

    Timeouts provide additional breaks during game play that allow coaches and players to develop strategies or rest their bodies.

    These periods can be crucial for the outcome of games, as they give teams a chance to make adjustments and come up with creative solutions if needed.

    In addition, overtime and timeout periods offer spectators heightened excitement and entertainment, making the game more enjoyable for everyone involved.

    Ultimately, overtime and timeout provide important benefits for field hockey matches integral to fair play and exciting game time.

    Most Periods ever in an NHL Game

    One of the more remarkable NHL games ever played was a modern-day classic between the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers on November 19, 2020.

    The game ended with an incredible 10 periods of hockey being played over four hours and 18 minutes.

    What makes this even more impressive is that it set the record for most periods ever in an NHL game since the league has been around since 1917.

    The longest period of hockey played in the game was an incredible 37 minutes and 25 seconds, even longer than some full games.

    This nail-biting contest ended with a shootout that saw Senators’ Brady Tkachuk score the winner. This remarkable game will go down in history as one of the most exciting NHL games ever played.

    Also Read: What Does “A” Mean on a Hockey Jersey?

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is each hockey period?

    Each period or game clock in hockey has a duration of 20 minutes. This time does not include overtime or intermissions, typically two minutes long each.

    Were NHL Hockey games always 3 Periods long?

    No, NHL hockey games were not always three periods long. The league used to have five-minute overtime periods for regular season games, which were then replaced with 10-minute overtime periods in 1983.

    NHL hockey games consist of three 20-minute regulation periods and a 5-minute sudden-death overtime period. 

    How long does it take to play period in real-time?

    A period in hockey typically takes around 40-45 minutes to play in real-time, including stoppages for penalties and other delays. 

    How many periods are in the NHL (National Hockey League) playoffs?

    The NHL playoffs consist of four periods per game, just like during the regular season.

    How Many Periods in Women’s Hockey Game?

    Women’s hockey games are typically played with three 20-minute periods, just like men’s hockey. Depending on the league and tournament rules, overtime periods may be added if needed for a tiebreaker. 

    How long is every quarter in high school field hockey?

    High school field hockey games typically have two 25-minute halves with four quarters each. The quarters are usually 8 minutes long, but the exact length can vary depending on the specific rules of the league or tournament. 

    How many periods are in the ice hockey games?

    Ice hockey games typically have three 20-minute periods. Depending on the league or tournament, overtime may be played if the game is tied after regulation.