How Long Are the Quarters in Hockey?

In ice hockey, the quarters are called periods and not quarters like in other sports. Each period in hockey is 20 minutes long, making a total of 60 minutes of gameplay. However, it is important to note that the game clock in hockey stops during stoppages in play, such as penalties, timeouts, and commercial breaks. As a result, the average duration of a hockey game is typically around 2 hours.


1. Why are the periods in hockey called “periods” and not “quarters”?
– The term “periods” is used in hockey to maintain the traditional terminology of the sport.

2. Is there a break between each period?
– Yes, there is a 15-minute intermission between the first and second periods, as well as the second and third periods.

3. Can the duration of a period change?
– In most standard ice hockey games, each period is 20 minutes long. However, in some leagues or tournaments, different durations may be allotted for periods, such as shorter periods in youth leagues or longer periods in international competitions.

4. What happens if the game goes into overtime?
– If the game is tied after the three periods, the game will go into overtime. Overtime periods typically last 5-10 minutes, depending on the league. If no team scores during the overtime period, a shootout may be used to determine the winner.

5. Why does the game clock stop during stoppages in play?
– The game clock stops during stoppages in play to ensure that each team has an equal opportunity to play the full 60 minutes of gameplay. It also allows time for necessary gameplay actions, such as penalty administration or player substitutions.

6. How many periods are there in a typical hockey game?
– In a typical ice hockey game, there are three periods. The first period, second period, and third period make up the regulation time of the game.

7. Are there any breaks other than the intermissions between periods?
– Yes, there are additional breaks in play during the game for various reasons. These breaks include timeouts called by either team, television timeouts for commercial breaks, and stoppages for penalties or injuries.

The periods in hockey, which last for 20 minutes each, make up the core gameplay time in the sport. With a total of three periods, the duration of a standard hockey game is around 2 hours, considering the intermissions and possible stoppages in play.