Ice Hockey Game Clock

Chapter 2.4

The game clock is one of two clocks in ice hockey. It keeps track of game time displaying how much time is left in the game.


In ice hockey, all clocks count towards zero. This adds a layer of pressure and suspense for players and fans. There are two clocks you should know:

In this tutorial, we will learn about the game clock, its rules, and how much time is on it.

The Game Clock

The game clock keeps track of game time in the current period. Recall learning about the structure of an ice hockey game and that there are three (3) periods of game time in regulation.

Rookie Road Ice Hockey Regulation Image

In pro (NHL) ice hockey each period lasts twenty (20) minutes. So, the game clock will start at 20:00 and tick until it reaches 0:00.

Rookie Road Ice Hockey Game Clock Image

Temporary Stops

The game clock will continuously count towards zero, but it will temporarily stop if the puck is declared 'dead' by officials for the following reasons:

The clock will start ticking again once the puck is put into play via a face-off.

Overtime Periods

When the score is tied at the end of regulation, extra periods of game time are played to determine the winning team. The amount of time on the game clock in overtime periods differs from the NHL regular season to the NHL post season.

NHL Regular Season Overtime

In an NHL regular season game, periods last five (5) minutes, so the game clock will read 5:00.

Rookie Road Ice Hockey NHL Regular Season Game Clock Image

NHL Post Season Overtime

In an NHL post season game, periods last twenty (20) minutes, so the game clock will read 20:00.

Rookie Road Ice Hockey NHL Post Season Game Clock Image


The game clock does not run during shootouts. We'll learn more about shootouts in future chapters.

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