Hockey 101: How Many Games in the NHL Regular Season?
Hockey is an exciting sport to watch and plays, full of hard-hitting action and intense moments. One of the big questions that many people ask is how long a hockey season lasts and how many games are played. Specifically, in the NHL the question is: how many games are there in the regular season?
The NHL, or National Hockey League, is the primary professional hockey league in North America, primarily confined to the United States and Canada. The NHL regular season generally runs from early October to early April, with a playoff series starting shortly after.
In general, the number of games played during the regular season varies each year. However, in recent years, the NHL has corrected their lingering issues and has now settled on a clear number of games for every team.
As of the 2021 NHL season, there are 31 teams in the league competing in two conferences, the Eastern and the Western. Each team usually plays 82 games, meaning the total number of games played in one regular season is 2,542.
These 82 games played by each team are divided into two different types of games, those played with teams in their own division and those played with teams outside their division. The first type usually consists of 26 games, with each team playing games twice against its seven division rivals, and either three or four games against each of the other eight non-division teams in the conference.
For interdivisional play, teams will play a few games against teams in the other conference, depending on the year’s schedule. In the end, these games will total up to a total of 56 games played, which will determine the team’s playoff qualification.
In the Western Conference, teams usually compete against each other a little less frequently than in the Eastern Conference. This means that teams in the West usually only play a total of 6 games against each division opponent and only 24 games between the rest of the teams in the conference. Therefore, because of these differences, the NHL regularly updates their schedule each year to make it as fair as possible for all teams.
The number of games played has not always been uniform in the NHL. In the past, there have been seasons where each team played only 48 games during the regular season due to a lockout. On the other hand, some years teams played 84 games, with either 42 or 43 games played in the Eastern Conference and 41 or 40 games played in the Western Conference.
It’s worth noting that there are also various winter outdoor classic games held in the open stadium that occur throughout the NHL season. These games are typically a spectacle, with a larger audience and unique environments adding to the game’s attractiveness.
The NHL regular season is an intense period of time for teams with a lot of games played over a short period. Players have to maintain their body, stay healthy, and have the right strategies to win games. Each game counts for every team; any loss can quickly make a significant impact on their run for the playoffs.
Once the regular season ends, a playoff period begins, with the top teams from each division going head-to-head to determine which team is crowned the champion. Playoffs teams will need to have significant focus and energy to win multiple series and make it to the final round of the season.
In conclusion, the NHL is a thrilling and intensely competitive league with a regular season full of games played between two conferences. Each team plays 82 games against various division and non-division teams until the playoffs. These games will all impact each team’s position and qualification standing, so each game played is crucial for every team’s success. Therefore, the NHL is open to any sport lover who enjoys strategy, passion, and a good dose of grit.