How Long Is an NHL Hockey Game? This Long

How Long Is an NHL Hockey Game? This Long

NHL Hockey Game Duration

Whether you have tickets to a live game or have a pay-per-view subscription with friends coming over, knowing how long a game of hockey will last will let you prepare the snacks and after-party plans accordingly.

An NHL game typically lasts 2.5 hours with sixty minutes dedicated to playtime and more added for overtime if required. The rest of the time goes to intermissions, formalities, and stops. It is advisable to get plenty of snacks, go with friends and family, and have no other plans for at least three hours.

The rest of this article goes over how you can make sure you make the most of your viewing experience at an NHL game, including what to wear, what kind of snacks to expect, and how to stay safe. If you aren’t attending the game, there will be some pointers to maximize your entertainment at home.

Preparing to Attend an NHL Game

If this is your first time attending an NHL game, the experience will be unlike any other. Provided that you make sufficient preparations, you will come out of the experience with great memories.

Below are the key things to keep in mind before you visit the game. Also, make sure to take a read through our article discussing how early you should get to a hockey game.

Wear Your Colours

Hockey jerseys and team kits may not be at hand if you visit for the first time on short notice. But all you need to indicate your support is to wear your team’s colours. Any shirt with most of the colours matching your team is sufficient. Some fans paint their faces in the colours of the team they support. To show team support, anything is better than just showing up in plain clothes though many people do that as well.

Bring the Markup

Remember that the cost of snacks will differ from the supermarket’s price when you attend a game. This is no different from the concession stand at movie theatres. Be mentally prepared to pay more and have some extra cash in your wallet.

Schedule Your Cheat Day

If you are diet-conscious, you must consider gameday your cheat day because the stadium’s food mostly includes burgers, hotdogs, and beer. The healthiest thing you may get would be some popcorn.

Since there will be oily food, it is advisable to get some lukewarm water afterward to help with digestion. And because there’s a lot of beer flowing throughout the game, it is good to keep hydrating.

Take an Uber if You Go Alone

If you drive to the game, you may be tempted to drink, leading to bad decisions about driving back. Therefore, you should either go as a group with a designated driver or take an uber. To rely on willpower to drink coke while everyone is drinking deer might be a losing bet. Unless you don’t drink in general, do not take your car to the game. You’ll also avoid the need to find a parking spot.

Have a High-Quality Camera

The game doesn’t need to be the playoffs for you to make memories. You never know what crazy thing might happen, and the last thing you want is to take a blurry selfie with a player! So take a high-quality camera, and if your phone has at least 13-megapixel capturing quality, then make sure it has a full battery and enough memory.

What to Expect at an NHL Game

When you visit a game, a part of being prepared involves being mentally prepared or even excited about a particular aspect of live sports culture.

We’ve even written an article discussing why we think a hockey game is fun to watch. Make sure to take a read!

Here’s what you can expect to encounter at the arena.

Booing From Opponents’ Fans

Yes, there is a whole vibe-war going on between the team you are rooting for and the team they are playing against. Make sure to maintain your distance because things can get violent if you get too carried away with the fan-battles.

Classic Rock Music

If you love AC/DC or Queen, you are in for a treat. There is a lot of rock music being blared throughout the game. And if those songs make you cringe, then maybe a pair of earbuds would be an excellent investment.

Playoff Beards

There is an interesting superstition among hockey players and superfans. Teams that make the playoffs don’t shave their beards until they are out of the running or win the Stanley cup. But it isn’t just the players who adopt these temporary beards; even the superfans do. Be prepared to be surrounded by beards.

How to Be Safe During an NHL Game

Hockey is known for many things, and crazy fans are one of them. While on the upside, you will witness people dressed up in interesting ways, you can find yourself in danger if you are not cautious. Here are a few precautions you must take when you attend a live game:

  • Be in well-lit areas at all times. Finding yourself in a less visible area while wearing ‘enemy colours’ can signify danger.
  • Go with friends. Going alone can invite confrontations, especially if you are in the wrong seats.
  • Don’t stand up a lot unless the people behind you have stood up. Blocking someone’s view can start an argument. It is okay to stand up and cheer when everyone is doing so.
  • Don’t boo or curse. The chances are that you’ll notice booing on both sides but remember that people you boo may catch up with you later. If you go alone, do not engage in a ‘fan war’. Everyone who boos is likely there with friends.

Preparing to Watch a Televised Game

Not every fan has tickets for every NHL game. A substantial portion of NHL revenue comes from televised games and pay-per-view purchases. So there is a chance that you’re either hosting a party to watch the event or attending a party. Besides setting three hours of your time for the game, you must be prepared in other ways. In this section, we cover these essential preparations.

Bring Food and/or Beer Along With You

If you are being hosted for a game-viewing night, do not show up empty-handed. Even if the host says you shouldn’t bring anything, you don’t want to be the only friend showing up with nothing if others decide to get food anyway. Since the game usually runs long, plenty of food is needed. Furthermore, bringing food helps with variety by turning the event into a potluck.

Get an Online Pay-per-View

If you are watching the game through a television service provider, you don’t want to miss out on the action if something happens with the power or the cable. By getting the game on pay-per-view, you can log in via laptop or mobile phone. By having the backup, it will give you peace of mind.

Schedule Deliveries at Separate Times

There are 15-minute intermissions that become 17 minutes long during televised NHL games. You don’t want to have too much food early on because you will experience a sugar crash or drowsiness around the second intermission when things get interesting. Instead, space out the food deliveries so that you get nibbles throughout the three hours.

Get In on the Social Media Action

While watching the game at home doesn’t have the same community engagement as watching one in the arena, you can invite interaction over the internet, primarily via Twitter. By logging on to the platform and tweeting with relevant hashtags, you will get through the intermissions without getting detached from the action.


If this is the first NHL game you’re going to watch, you are likely about to take your first step into a journey that will make you a hardcore fan. This will probably not be like any other three-hour event you have experienced. Everything from fan culture to the exhilaration of a live game is so intoxicating that you will find yourself wanting to come back for more.