In ice hockey, there are typically three periods. Each period lasts 20 minutes, making a total game time of 60 minutes.

Ice hockey is a fast-paced and exciting sport that is enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide. The game is known for its physicality, speed, and skill, and it has a rich history dating back over a century. With its origins in Canada, ice hockey has become popular in countries all over the world, including the United States, Russia, Sweden, and Finland.

The sport is played on a frozen rink, and the objective is to score more goals than the opposing team. Professional leagues like the NHL and international tournaments like the Olympics showcase the top talent in the sport. Understanding the basic rules and structure of ice hockey, including the three periods of play, is essential for both new and seasoned fans of the game.

How Many Periods in Ice Hockey  : Everything You Need to Know


The Standard Periods In Ice Hockey

Ice hockey is an exhilarating sport that is played in three periods. Each period has a different focus, and the game can go into overtime and shootout periods in case of a tie. Let’s explore the standard periods in ice hockey and how they contribute to the excitement of the game.

The regulation periods in ice hockey consist of three 20-minute periods, with intermissions in between. During each period, the teams strive to outscore their opponents while adhering to the rules and strategies of the game. The fast-paced nature of the sport ensures that every second counts, keeping players and fans on the edge of their seats.

When regulation play ends in a tie, overtime periods come into play. Overtime consists of an extra 5-minute period where teams continue to battle it out in an attempt to secure the victory. If no team scores during the overtime period, it may lead to a shootout to determine the winner.

If the game remains tied after the overtime period, a shootout takes place to determine the winner. Each team selects players to take turns attempting to score against the opposing team’s goaltender in a one-on-one showdown. The excitement of shootouts adds an additional layer of intensity to the game, showcasing the skills and precision of the players.

Regulation Periods

Regulation periods in ice hockey consist of three distinct sections, each lasting 20 minutes. These periods are essential for the game’s rhythm and strategy, and teams must make the most of each period to secure victory. Let’s delve into the dynamics of each regulation period.

First Period

The first period marks the beginning of the game and sets the tone for the following play. It’s a crucial time for both teams to establish their presence on the ice and strive for an early lead. Teams often focus on testing their opponents’ defenses and creating opportunities to score.

Second Period

During the second period, teams continue to build on their strategies and capitalize on their strengths. This period often witnesses intensified action as players aim to break any stalemates and gain a competitive edge. The pressure intensifies as the game progresses, and both teams strive to maintain or elevate their position on the scoreboard.

Third Period

The third period encapsulates the culmination of the game, often manifesting in a display of determined efforts from both teams. This period frequently sees a surge in aggressive play, as teams push harder to secure a decisive win or turn the tide in their favor. The final minutes often hold the potential for dramatic comebacks or game-sealing goals.

Overtime Periods

When it comes to ice hockey, the excitement doesn’t end in regulation time. If the game is tied at the end of three periods, additional periods called overtime periods are played. These overtime periods can determine the final outcome of the game, making them critical for both teams. In this section, we will dive into the different types of overtime periods in ice hockey and how they can impact the game.

Sudden Death Overtime

In sudden-death overtime, the first team to score a goal wins the game. This means that the pressure is on for both teams to find the back of the net as quickly as possible. Sudden death over time continues until one team scores, making it a nail-biting and intense period for both players and fans. Teams will often take more risks in sudden death over time, going all out on offense to secure a victory.

Multiple Overtimes

When it comes to multiple overtimes, the game becomes even more intense and physically demanding. If neither team manages to score a goal during the first overtime period, a second one begins. This process continues until a team finally scores, resulting in a sudden death situation. Multiple overtimes not only test the players’ endurance and mental strength, but they also bring the excitement and suspense to a whole new level. Fans hold their breath with each near-miss and cheer with every close call.

How Many Periods in Ice Hockey  : Everything You Need to Know


Shootout Periods

The Shootout Periods in ice hockey are an exciting and highly anticipated part of the game. This is where teams showcase their skill and ability to perform under pressure, as they compete to determine the winner in a tie game. The Shootout Format and the process for Determining the Winner add an extra layer of intensity and suspense to the game, creating a thrilling experience for players and fans alike.

The Shootout Format

The Shootout Format is a thrilling way to determine the winner when the game is tied after regular play and overtime. In the Shootout Periods, each team takes turns sending their top forwards to attempt a one-on-one against the opposing team’s goaltender. With the crowd on the edge of their seats, the players must showcase their best moves and quick thinking to outwit the goaltender and score a goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the designated number of shootout rounds emerges victorious.

Determining The Winner

So, how is the winner determined in the Shootout Periods? Let’s take a look at the process. The shootout starts with the first player from Team A taking a shot against the goaltender from Team B. If the shooter scores, Team A is awarded one goal. If the shooter fails to score, Team B remains at zero. The process then continues with the first player from Team B taking a shot against the goaltender from Team A. This alternating pattern continues for the designated number of shootout rounds, usually three rounds in regular-season games. If the score remains tied after the designated number of rounds, the shootout proceeds to sudden death, where teams continue to alternate shooters until a winner emerges.

In the event that one team scores while the other fails to do so in a sudden death shootout round, the team that scored is declared the winner. On the other hand, if both teams score in the same shootout round, the shootout continues with a new round until one team scores and the other fails to do so. This intense battle of skill and nerves ultimately determines the winner and leaves spectators on the edge of their seats until the final shot is taken.

The Shootout Periods have added an exciting dimension to ice hockey, allowing teams to display their individual abilities while also giving fans a thrilling finale to a tied game. The Shootout Format and the process for Determining the Winner ensure that every second counts and that the game ends on an exhilarating note. So, whether you’re watching from the stands or cheering from the comfort of your own home, you can expect to be captivated by the thrilling Shootout Periods and the determination of each team to secure victory.

How Many Periods in Ice Hockey  : Everything You Need to Know


Frequently Asked Questions On How Many Periods In Ice Hockey

Does Hockey Have 3 Or 4 Periods?

Hockey has three periods, not four. Each period lasts 20 minutes, making a game played with three periods 60 minutes in total.

How Many Periods Are There In Ice Hockey?

An ice hockey game typically consists of three periods.

Is Hockey 3 20 Minute Periods?

Yes, hockey consists of 3 periods, each lasting 20 minutes, with standard stoppages and intermissions.

How Many Quarters Are There In Ice Hockey?

In ice hockey, there are three quarters. Each quarter is 20 minutes long, making a total of 60 minutes of gameplay.


To summarize, the number of periods in ice hockey depends on the level of play. While professional games consist of three periods lasting 20 minutes each, other levels may have shorter periods or different structures. Understanding the duration of periods in ice hockey is crucial for players and fans alike, as it influences the pacing and strategies of the game.

Familiarizing yourself with the regulations will enhance your enjoyment of this thrilling sport.