How Many Periods In Hockey

Hockey is one of the most famous sports played by millions. Almost all the games in the world are played in quarters or halves. But hockey is organized in periods. “Periods” in hockey can be a bit confusing. While watching a hockey game, you will see players leaving the field after a specific amount of time and again getting into play after some rest and planning.  A question may grow in your mind: how many periods in hockey, and do all types of hockey games have the same number of periods?

Need to know all of them? Then just relax and go through the article to have a brief idea about the topic.

How is hockey played?

Hockey is an indoor and outdoor sport played by two opposing teams who use sticks curved at the striking end. With it, the players strike a small hard ball or puck into their opponent’s goal.

Hockey is played both on ice and greenfield. The game of hockey played mainly on an indoor field in an ice rink by two opposing teams of 6 players each (one goalkeeper and five players playing in the outfield) is called Ice hockey. In ice hockey, the player uses their sticks to strike the puck and wears a skate to run. On the Other hand, the game of hockey, which is played on an outdoor field in the green grass or synthetic surface by two opposing teams of 11 players each (one goalkeeper and ten players playing in the outfield), is called Field hockey. In a field hockey game, the player uses their stick to strike a small hard ball and wears sports shoes to run.

Do professional Field hockey and Ice hockey have the same number of periods?

Professional field hockey and ice hockey do not have the same number of periods. Along with the difference in the surface where they are played, the number of team members also differs in their periods.

For professional ice hockey, usually, there are 3periods in 60minutes. Every ice hockey game has 3periods with the same length of 20minutes. But this length may change depending upon the hockey level. The three periods are said as “first period,” “second period,” “third period.” Until 1910, ice hockey was played in two periods having 30minutes each. But in 1910, the National Hockey Association altered the previous rule and implemented three periods in a game, each having 20minutes.

For professional field hockey, in a game of 60minutes, there are 4periods, each having 15minutes. But depending upon the importance level of hockey, this length may vary. Until 2017, the length of field hockey was 70minuutes, and it was played in 2periods having 35minutes each. But in 2017, the International Hockey Federation altered the previous rule, introduced a new length of the game, and changed the number of periods.

If a hockey match ties and the winner is not determined, an extra period may come into a play called “overtime.” It is not a usual period of a match, but it may occur in an intense game situation.

This alteration in hockey games is usually done to make the game more exciting to the people and for the betterment of the players as well as fans and broadcasters. If the number of periods is more, more advertisement can be done and economically beneficial.

Benefits of having more periods:

In Ice hockey, there are 3period in a match duration of 60minutes. In between each period, the players get a break of 17minutes to take a rest and refuel themselves.

In Field hockey, there are 4periods in a match duration of 60minutes. Earlier it was 70 minutes with only two periods. But now, The Hockey Federation is thinking about the betterment of players, and making the game more exciting to the fans has increased the number of periods in a match. 

Some of the benefits of having more periods are:

  • Rest, Refuel & Regroup:

During the intermission, players can take a rest by going back to their dressing room. Have some little snacks and refuel their energy. It helps them to refuel their body and mind. Thus, they can focus on their game and try to take their team to victory. The manager talks with his players about the tactics and gameplay and has a quick discussion about the game. This can change the overall scenario of the game. The team who was losing, because of a break they can regain their confidence and score quickly. Regrouping helps a team to show their best possible skills.

  • Resurfacing the ice:

During an ice hockey match, the ice needs to be resurfaced in short of increasing its quality. Resurfacing the ice betters the playing condition. If the ice is resurfaced every, the ice becomes cleaner and more conductive.

Suppose you have ever enjoyed a few professional ice hockey games as an audience. In that case, there is no doubt you have noticed that during each period, a truck or maybe even two of a bit large size enters into the field and goes over the ice and drives circularly for about 10-15 minutes. The driver of that truck is called Zamboni. 

Playing for a long time on ice, often the player’s skates are dug into the ice, and the ice becomes full of ruts. Resurfacing the ice every 20minutes with the Zamboni can minimize this problem. 

  • Break for the Spectators:

According to the rules, a hockey game’s length is just 60minutes. Since it is played by a human, it is not possible to end at this time. It will always exceed the regulation time. A hockey game usually lasts for 2 to 2.5hours, so it is really necessary for the spectators to take a break. During the periods, the spectators can have a little snack, drinks, etc. They can also go to the bathroom. A bathroom during the period break always remains busy in hockey.

  • More Advertisements:

A lot of sponsors always sponsor a hockey league. To advertise these sponsors, the hockey league uses intermissions to telecast the commercials. These commercials are seen by the people who are watching on T.V.

Besides, the audience also watches different attractive commercials on the giant screen inside the stadium or field during intermission.

What do hockey players do between periods?

Periods are really beneficial for the players in a hockey match. In between periods, the players get enough time to rest themselves and refuel their energy. During the short periods, the players burn a lot of calories due to high intensity and excitement. During the periods, the players have a short meal or snack but not like a heavy meal. They eat fruits, chocolates or sandwiches. Some players also change their jerseys between the periods. The ice hockey players take off their skates and pads and cool down themselves. Some of them sharpen their skates. The field hockey players take off their shoes, jerseys and hydrate themselves. 

The manager encourages his players and analyses their tactics and how they can do better in the next period. The coach influences them if they are behind their opponent. They rethink their tactics and find the passion for doing better.

It is natural to get tired after playing for a short time. Hockey is, in fact, not an easy game to play. It requires enough energy, and a person should be strong enough. So, more periods are beneficial for the players.

Is overtime considered as a period in hockey?

Overtime is definitely a period in hockey, but it is not referred to so. There is no surety that a game will go to overtime always. So, it is known as extra time.

When the regulation playtime overs and the match score is level, only then overtime comes into play. If a player scored during regulation time, his performance is reflected in his stat, but it is not done during overtime. If no goals are scored during overtime, a penalty shootout takes place. This penalty shootout is not considered a period. During a penalty, the clock stops, and the performance of a player during penalty is not enlisted in his stat.

Overtime for a normal ice hockey match is 5minutes. But during the playoffs, it is 20minutes. There is no shootout during the playoffs. If the team fails to score in the first 20minutes, then another 20minutes is given. For a field hockey game, the duration of the overtime is seven and a half minutes. So, overtime is a crucial period of a hockey game and is always considered as “Period” but refereed as “Overtime.”

Number of Periods in a high school ice hockey game:

The length of a high school field hockey game is the same as professional ice hockey. In a 60minutes game, there are 3periods, each lasting for 20minutes. During the periods, the players can have some rest and focus on their required goals. The manager encourages his players to have some more attacking play, and thus it helps a team to build a better understanding between them. If the game draws after 60minutes, an additional 5minutes is given by the referee as an “overtime” period. If the team still can’t score, the game moves to the penalties. Penalties are not considered periods in a game.

Periods in a high school field hockey game:

The length of a high school field hockey game is now 60minutes. Until 2019, these 60minutes were divided into two equal halves of 30minutes each. But in 2020, a revised rule was established. According to the new rule, the game will be played in 4periods instead of 2, and each period will last for 15minutes. If the game draws after 60minutes, an additional seven and a half minutes is given by the referee as an “overtime” period. If the team still can’t score, the game moves to the penalties. Penalties are not considered periods in a game.

Periods in a recreational ice hockey game:

There are many amateur leagues, and almost all the league games have 3periods. Sometimes, it is seen that in some matches, 2periods are used. But it is very rare. 

Recreational ice hockey and professional ice hockey have a big difference. In recreational ice hockey, we do not see any trucks entering the field and circling over the ice. This is because the ice is not resurfaced in a recreational game. Ice resurfacing is one of the most important to do, and it is done in professional leagues. It gets hard for players to run and play in a recreational ice hockey game.

Periods in a women’s hockey game:

The periods in a women’s hockey game are the same as the men’s hockey game. There is no variation in rules and regulations, overtime periods. Women’s hockey abides everything as there are in men’s hockey.

Women play a game of 60 minutes where there are 3periods of 20minutes each. If the match draws, the overtime period starts to determine the winner of the game.


Often a common question is heard: how many periods in hockey and do all types of hockey leagues have the same periods? It may be because the person who asks is a newcomer to hockey, or he is just confused whether the overtime is also considered as a period.

Ice hockey has 3periods having 20minutes each, and field hockey is played in 4periods, which lasts for 15minutes each. After the end of each period, the Zamboni with his trucks enters the field and resurfaces the ices. Resurfacing helps the players to play without difficulties. The more the periods, the more the players and organizers are benefited. Periods in hockey help the players to refresh themselves, and thus they can focus on their game more. The managers can also discuss different tactics with their players.