What Is An Intermission In Hockey?

An intermission in hockey is a short break taken between periods. There are two intermissions in a hockey game. One between the first and second period and the other between the second and the third period.

If a game goes to overtime there will be an additional intermission in the game.

If you are wondering how long an intermission is in the NHL the answer is seventeen minutes. This means you can expect just over half an hour of intermission time in any given hockey game.

Why Do They Have Intermissions In Hockey?

Now that you understand what an intermission is in hockey it’s time to learn the purpose behind them. In the 1910-1911 NHL season hockey was still being played in two thirty minutes halves.

This is the same total game time as a hockey game nowadays, the major difference being there was a single break in the game as opposed to two.

As the games went on in the 1910 season players noticed how beat up and creased the rink had become. This made it hard to skate effectively and even harder to control the puck.

The fix to this issue was to break the game down into periods which allowed for another break in the action. During these intermissions, the Zamboni would come onto the ice and flood it. This involves placing a thin layer of water onto the ice in order to smooth it out.

This greatly improved the quality of the playing surface and is why the NHL has continued to use periods to this day.

An intermission in hockey also allows the players a chance to rest and catch their breath. The high intensity of each shift in hockey leaves players exhausted. And despite breaks between shifts these players still need an intermission to regain some stamina.

This keeps the pace of the game fast as players aren’t going to be exhausted by the time the third period rolls around.

Another reason that intermissions are beneficial is that it allows the fans of the game a short break from the action.

If you have ever attended a hockey game you’ll know that the intermission is the most popular time to grab some food or drink from the concourse.

Additionally, fans at home will be able to watch analysts break down the game. This will give you a little more insight as to what is happening in the game and often makes the viewing experience more enjoyable.

Do Players Take Off Their Equipment During Intermission?

Another common question about intermissions is whether or not players use this time to take off all their hockey equipment.

In most cases, hockey players are only going to take off equipment from their upper body. Usually, this is the jersey and shoulder pads. This is a little more comfortable than keeping the equipment on and allows the players to cool down.

Some players may decide to keep their equipment on throughout the intermission though this is not very common in the NHL.

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