The number of games in hockey varies depending on the league and level of play. Here are five supporting facts about the number of games played in hockey:
1. National Hockey League (NHL): In the NHL, each team plays a total of 82 regular-season games. This includes 41 home games and 41 away games.
2. American Hockey League (AHL): The AHL, which is the primary developmental league for the NHL, typically has its teams play 76 regular-season games. Similar to the NHL, teams play an equal number of home and away games.
3. International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF): During IIHF competitions, such as the World Championships or the Olympics, the number of games can vary. In most cases, teams compete in a preliminary round-robin format followed by knockout rounds, resulting in a variable number of games played.
4. Junior Hockey Leagues: Junior hockey leagues, such as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the United States Hockey League (USHL), usually consist of a set number of games per season. For example, the CHL typically plays a 68-game regular season schedule.
5. Youth and Amateur Leagues: The number of games played in youth and amateur hockey leagues can vary significantly. It usually depends on the league’s structure and objectives, with some leagues playing as few as 20 games per season, while others may play over 50 games.
Q1: Why do NHL teams play 41 home and 41 away games?
A1: Playing an equal number of home and away games ensures fairness and equal opportunities for all teams. It minimizes the advantage of playing in a particular arena.
Q2: Can the number of regular-season games in the NHL change?
A2: While 82 regular-season games have been the norm for many years, the league has made adjustments in the past due to events like lockouts or major schedule disruptions. However, 82 games remain the standard for now.
Q3: Are playoff games included in the total number of regular-season games?
A3: No, playoff games are not included in the regular-season game count. The number of playoff games varies each year depending on how far a team advances in the playoffs.
Q4: Do all professional hockey leagues worldwide play the same number of games?
A4: No, different professional hockey leagues have different schedules. The NHL, AHL, and various European leagues generally have a higher number of games compared to some other leagues.
Q5: Are exhibition or preseason games counted as part of the regular-season games?
A5: No, exhibition or preseason games are separate from the regular-season games. They are meant to warm up teams before the start of the official season.
Q6: Is there a limit to the number of overtime periods played in a single game?
A6: In regular-season NHL games, if the game remains tied after a five-minute overtime period, it proceeds to a shootout. However, in playoff games, multiple overtime periods can be played until a team scores the winning goal.
Q7: What happens if a team cannot complete all scheduled games in a season?
A7: If a team cannot complete all scheduled games due to unforeseen circumstances like a pandemic or severe weather conditions, the league may make adjustments to the standings or schedule to maintain fairness.
BOTTOM LINE: The number of games played in hockey depends on the league and level of play. The NHL and AHL have set game totals, while international competitions and junior leagues can have variable game counts. Youth and amateur leagues also vary in the number of games played based on their specific objectives and structure.