How Many Games are There in A Hockey Season?

NHL or National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league highly popular in the US and Canada.  It commenced in 1917 with five teams, and today the NHL has 30 franchises, of which Montreal Canadiens is the most popular by winning 24 Stanley Cup championships. There are millions of avid fans as well as casual fans of the NHL. If you are a diehard NHL fan and want to know about the history of hockey, the number of games in NHL seasons and specifically about the 2021-22 NHL season schedule, read this article till the end.

Brief History about Hockey 

The roots of hockey are very deeply buried in yesteryear. According to the historical records, hockey was played in its crude form in Egypt around 4000 years ago, near 1000 B.C. in Ethiopia, and an ancient type of hockey was played around 2000 B.C. in Iran. The modern game of hockey was introduced in England in the middle of the 18th century, and the very first association for hockey was introduced in the UK in the year 1877 and made the first set of rules. 

Hockey was first introduced in the Olympics as a hockey competition for men, which was held in London in 1908. There is a very long history of hockey, and there is so much more to it than mentioned here. You must be aware of the fact that the NHL did not always walk on the 82 games calendar. Since the year and season of 1967-68, the teams played around 49 to 84 games in one season. The 48 games season was conducted during the lockdowns. The league was timetabled as a season of 56 games in the year 2020-21 because of COVID-19. 

How many hockey games are there in a season?

how many games in a hockey season?

If you want to know “how many games in a hockey season?” as well as “how many games in NHL season?”, here you will find the answers. Every NHL team plays around 82 games in a season, which takes place  during early October to early April. With the conclusion of the regular season, 16 teams get qualified for the playoffs, which is done by relying upon their standings. Then the teams in the playoff go through an elimination tournament and can play at any place from 4 to 29 extra games. 

How many games in the preseason?

Now, you must also remember the fact that the teams also play preseason games. During the last 14 days of September, around 6 to 8 preseason games are played. This assists the coaches in providing them time for evaluating the new players and getting their old players to improve. In such a situation, the new players are considered rookies, players from an associated team, or those who have just signed their first contract with the NHL. 

The main motive is to provide them with a chance to win a place on an opening day and challenge the already existing players. 

Regular season structure
DivisionScheduleTotal games
Within division4 games × 5 opponents + 3 games × 2 opponents26
Within the conference, non-divisional3 games × 8 opponents24
Inter-conference2 games × 16 opponents32

How many games are there in the playoffs?

On completion of the Regular NHL season, 16 teams qualify to play the Stanley Cup playoff matches, where the losing teams keep getting eliminated till the final winner is announced. In the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are four rounds of best-of-seven series. Each playoff team plays 4 to 28 games.

The first team that wins 4 games will be allowed to move to the next round.  Hitherto, if a team loses the initial 4 games in the starting round of the playoffs, they will be removed from the competition, and the other team will move forward to the next round. 

Now, a team can play all the seven games that exist in one round and then win around 4 games, which makes the total games played to be 28.  The team that emerges as the winner wins 16 games during the complete playoff season. 

When does the 2021-22 NHL Season Start? How many games will be played?

how many games in nhl season?

The 2021-22 NHL season is the 105th season to be played in the National Hockey League. The 2021 season ended on 7th July, in which the Tampa Bay Lightning were the winners of the Stanley Cup by defeating the Montreal Canadiens. Now 2021-22 NHL season is just knocking at the doors.

The 2021-22 season started on 12th October that is on a Tuesday and will continue till 29th April 2022, Friday. The opening game was played between the champion Bolts, who will take upon the Penguins. 

Now, after the two short seasons of just 56 games because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021-22 season is set to have a complete 82 game schedule. The previous season incorporated some new amendments in the schedule like limited opponents, and the series was played like in baseball. These amendments are now removed, and now the players will be standing up against one another for the coming seven months. The upcoming season holds to be promising for the fans in terms of the number of games, especially when they will be able to enjoy the game with all the enthusiasm.


Hockey is a very exciting game, loved by millions worldwide. If you are a hockey enthusiast, we hope that this article would have done some value addition to your knowledge about hockey. Just loving the sport is not enough to enjoy it thoroughly. With a complete understanding of NHL seasons and the number of games played during the preseason, regular season, and Stanley playoffs, you can enjoy the game even more. Due to Covid-19, there were many changes in the last year’s game, but now in the upcoming season, everything has been pushed back to normal, and it is time for you to again sit back and enjoy the new seasons.