How Long Are High School Hockey Games 

High school hockey games last about 1.5 hours whereas professional hockey games last for 2.5 - 3.0 hours. %%sep%% %%sitename%%

Staff Reporter
New Update

Who doesn't love to play hockey? From 8 years youth to 40 years professional, all love to run after the pluck with his hockey stick. But, there are rules and regulations about the length of the match. High school hockey games aren't different from this rule. 

If you watch National Hockey League (NHL) matches and high school hockey matches, a question about how long high school hockey games may arise in your mind. Well, high school hockey games last about 1.5 hours whereas professional hockey games last for 2.5 - 3.0 hours. We will discuss this time difference through the explanation of how many quarters in hockey, break, overtime and others. 

Let's jump to the interesting part where you will get to know about high school hockey games, their length, rules and more. 

Read Also: How to Choose a Hockey Stick?

How long are High School Hockey Games? 

The High School hockey game consists of 3 periods. In between 2 periods, there is a break or intermissions. Now, the total time of the match depends on the length of each period and intermissions. 

There is no specific rule for high school hockey games. Each school committee and authority defines a different time for their school tournament. But, in most of the school tournaments, each period played for 15-17 minutes followed by a 15 minutes intermission. Whereas, the professional games period length is 20 minutes. 

Read Also: Hockey FIH Pro League South Africa vs India: Where to watch in India?

You may wonder why school hockey games are shorter than professional ones. Well, the age of the player is one of the issues. As the players need to stay on the ice field for a long time, it may cause some difficulties to them. Apart from this, playing in a competitive environment, where the excitement is full all over can affect health issues. Due to these, the high school hockey game period is shorter.  

As we said earlier, the hockey period length depends on the school committee decision, one of the most prominent and most prestigious high school leagues comes out of Minnesota and is known as the Minnesota state high school league (MSHSL). 

Read Also: Top 10 NFL Players Ever: What Makes Them Great?

In the MSHSL league, each period played for 17 minutes. After each period, players get breaks for about 15 minutes. During this time, players go to their dressing room to make strategies for the upcoming periods along with some rest. Zamboni also comes in the middle of the field to level the ice.  

So, with 17 minutes for 3 periods and 30 minutes intermission, the real game length becomes around 1 hour 20 minutes. But, if overtime, shootout, unintentional stops occur in the middle of the match, then the total time of the game becomes longer. 

5 Reasons that Increase the Length of the High School Hockey Game 

If the match continues at its own pace and one team wins during the defined time, then the game ends within 1 hour 30 minutes. But, for some reason, the time of the match is extended. Here are the reasons: 


Intermission is part of the game rules. It's not possible to play for 50 minutes at a stretch by the high school students. So, 2 breaks with 15 minutes each extend 30 minutes of the total time of the match.  

If the game is telecast by a TV channel then advertisement break times also include this break time. Around 2-5 minutes of commercial break time added up with the intermission time. 


If the score line is tied after playing 3 periods, the game goes to the shootout round. In the shootout round, 3 players from each team come to take the shots. The team that scores higher in the shootout, declares as a winner. 

But, sometimes a shootout also can't define the winner if both teams score the same amount of goals in their 3 shots. This extends the game for an extra period. 


The time period for overtime varies from league to league. But, most of the time a 5 minute overtime is played between the two teams. The sudden death policy is followed. Means, the team that scores a goal first will declare it as a winner. 


Some leagues don't follow the overtime policy. Few directly go to the direct 20 minutes playoff after a shootout phase. Some take preparation for a shootout when they are unable to find a winner after an overtime period. 

So, In Playoff, 20 minutes a game is played. But it does not count as a period as it's extra time. After every 20 minutes, a predefined break time is allowed. Until a team scores higher after a playoff period the game continues. Sudden death rules sometimes follow here to cut off the playoff time. 

Accidental Breaks 

There are some accidental breaks that stop the count of the watch. Accidental breaks extend the time of the high school hockey game. Some of the most common accidental breaks are: 

  • Injuries, where players fainted or badly physically injured. 
  • Goal Celebration time 
  • Penalty or shootout taking time by a team 
  • Fights taken place between two teams  
  • Goalie holds the puck for over 3 seconds 
  • Puck leaves the field for a long period of time 

Final Words  

Whether it is a high school hockey game or professional National hockey league (NHL), the excitement of the game doesn't diminish at all. Spectators from all around keep cheering for the game without giving much attention to the time initially. 

But, as the time ticks toward the final moment and one team get close to win or defeat the match, then every second is counted by the players, spectators and team management. High school hockey games are shorter in time but the passion and excitement found in these matches aren't little.