How Long is an Average Hockey Game?

Ever wondered how long an average hockey game really is? & how long before the start of the game should I arrive?

Expect hokey games to average a total time of around 2 hours and 20 minutes, they can and do go longer if there are injuries or lots of stoppages.

The official period of play is 3 x 20 minutes (1 hr), but the play stops every time the referee blows the whistle and between intermission breaks (2 x 17 minutes).

Play breakdown

  • Total Playtime: 60 minutes
  • Total Intermission: 17 + 17 minutes = 34 minutes
  • Injury &stopages (average): 15-25 minutes
  • Average total game time: 2hrs 20min +

Play without any stoppages would be 1hr and 34 minutes, but with stoppages, it is at least two hours.

For fans, the game is longer as you need to arrive before the start of the game and allow for medal ceremonies (only at the end of tournament games). Expect to be at the rink for upwards of three hours.

How early do people typically arrive at hockey matches?

You’ll want to arrive well before puck drop to get your seat and be inside the arena in time. Allow time for getting through the queues and grabbing some snacks.

If your game starts at 7 pm. Aim to be lining up at the right entrance gate at 6:15 pm.

The exact time your arrive does depend on the size of the arena, and the number of fans that will be in attendance. If in doubt, contact the arena or arrive slightly earlier to avoid missing the start.

P.S the actual game starts 15 minutes after the stated time. So in this case, puck drop is actually at 7:15 pm.

Hardcore fans typically arrive much earlier while casual fans can arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of the game.

If you’re in a special seat or a box, then you’ll probably want to arrive a bit earlier to enjoy some drinks.

When do players arrive before a game?

Here are some approximates for NHL level games. The team’s staff arrive early to prep the locker room and players arrive a bit later to warm up and get in their gear.

Home team staff: 2,5 to 3 hours before game time

Away Team: 2 hours

Home team Players: 1.5 hours before the game.

Off-ice officials: 1 to 1,5 hour before game time

On-ice officials: 45 minutes to 1 hour before the game.

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