How Long Does a College Hockey Game Last?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:53:33 PM ET
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The game of ice hockey is highly competitive at the college level. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, better known as the NCAA, sanctions hockey at the college level for both men and women. The NCAA offers competitions at three division levels ― Division I, Division II, and Division III ― which is determined mostly by the size of the school's enrollment. The college hockey season runs from about mid-October to April.

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How Long Does a College Hockey Game Last?

The average time a college hockey game lasts is approximately two hours and 25 minutes. The amount of time a game lasts can vary due to things such as time outs, injuries, and overtime play. In 2015, the longest game in college hockey began at 7:35 p.m., and a winner wasn't determined until 1:30 a.m. the following day. The game clock totaled slightly more than 151 minutes as the University of Massachusetts beating the University of Notre Dame during the fifth overtime.

How Many Periods Are in a College Hockey Game?

A college hockey game consists of three periods, with each period being 20 minutes long. If a game is tied at the end of the third period, the game could go into an overtime period of five minutes. Most regular season hockey games are allowed to end in a tie. However, if a tournament is being played, overtime rules may apply. 

What Is the Size of a College Hockey Ice Rink?

The standard measurements of an ice rink used for college hockey are 200 feet in length by 85 feet in width. Some rinks might vary slightly in size. The ice rink is surrounded by boards, usually made of fiberglass, and standing about 42 inches tall. There is a wall of glass that surrounds the rink and is mounted on the boards. 

How Many Teams Are There in NCAA College Hockey?

College hockey is governed by the NCAA and consists of teams from universities and colleges. There are both men's and women's teams in the NCAA's college hockey league. Within the league, there are three divisions and several different conferences. For instance, the men's Division I section has about 60 teams from six conferences. 

The number of women's teams has grown since the inception of play in 2000. Don't let that date fool you, however, as Brown University had a women's college hockey team as early as 1965. There weren't any opponents for them back then, so this team played against a men's junior varsity team. The women's ice hockey teams today, combine Division I and Division II and consists of 36 teams within four different conferences. 

The other two divisions of men's college hockey include 81 teams divided into 10 conferences. The women's Division III includes more than 45 teams across five conferences.

College Hockey Championship

The first men's championship college ice hockey game was played in 1948. For women, it wasn't until 2001. At the end of the college hockey season, the NCAA awards the national championship team by way of a tournament. Each division has its own playoffs and championship tournament. The NCAA men's national hockey tournament is called the Frozen Four.

The NCAA women's college hockey league goes about crowning the champion in a similar way at the end of each season. First, each conference holds its playoffs to determine the conference champion. These teams are automatically in the national tournament, which is titled the National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship, but just like the men's tournament, it is also referred to as the Frozen Four. 

The first men's college hockey team to win the Frozen Four, in 1948, was Michigan, beating Dartmouth 8-4. The first women's team to win the championship was the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, who also went on to win the title in 2002 and 2003.