When Does High School Hockey Season Start?

By Kapil Sapkota / 3 October 2023 08:09 AM

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When does high school hockey start? High school hockey season in the United States starts in October. The season runs till late March.

The biggest event of ice hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL), as well as the NCAA college hockey season also begins in the same month.

School-level hockey is the beginning stage for any aspiring hockey athlete. The skills honed at this level will form a solid base in the coming days.

The period of October to April is an absolute treat for all hockey fanatics, as they get to enjoy every level of hockey from high school to the NHL.

How Long is the Hockey Season?

High school hockey season lasts for more than six months. It takes 5 months to complete the regular season and a month for the playoffs.

The season usually starts in early October and ends in late March. However, there is no specific date to start high school hockey league due to the number of players and teams. Moreover, the playoff formats vary for each state/region.

Since there are a lot of school hockey programs, we can't precisely say the length of the season. Minnetonka High School begins its season at the end of November and lasts till early March.

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Please note that there are breaks for school vacations and holidays throughout the high school hockey season, which makes the season longer. The team can practice or play in other tournaments during such breaks.

The NHL and college hockey lasts longer than the high school season. In fact, the NHL has the longest season than any other level of hockey in the United States.

High School Ice Hockey Schedule

High school hockey schedule differs from state to state and school to school. Some schools start the season earlier, and some begin it later.

For example, North Catholic High School's hockey season for 2023-24 began on September 11, while St. Xavier High School's hockey will start on November 10.

Andover High School starts its hockey season even later. Last year, they started it at the end of November and the season ended in mid-March.

Some school hockey programs start the season as early as September. Obviously, the schools starting early will also close the season earlier than other schools.

The schedule of the high school hockey season is dependent on the calendar of the school and is decided by the school authorities. Every school may follow a different timeline.

Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament

Minnesota is known for its deep hockey roots and traditions. The Minnesota State High School tournament is one example of hockey tradition.

The tournament began way back in 1945. Furthermore, many players who have played in the tournament became successful NHLers later on.

Every year, some of the best high school talents are seen in action during the tournament. They are later seen as prospects for the NHL drafts.

According to a report by QuantHockey, Minnesota has the most number of players in the NHL. 19.4% of the total NHLers are from Minnesota.

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Before their NHL journey, former players such as Darby Hendrickson, Mark Parrish, Ryan Carter, Matt Cullen, and others competed in the state tournament.

Some of the active NHL stars including Blake Wheeler, Samuel Walker, Derek Forbort, and T.J. Oshie also played the tournament in the past.

The junior players get an opportunity to play at the Xcel Energy Center, the biggest arena in the state and home arena to the Minnesota Wild.

For hockey fans, the MS High School hockey tournament can be viewed on KSTC-45TV. The games can be streamed online on

High School Hockey Rankings

The best high school hockey teams in the US are 1. Minnetonka High School 2. Andover High School 3. Chanhassen High School.

Minnetonka School is the champion of the 2022-23 Minnesota State Class AA Hockey Tournament. The team concluded the season with a record of 29-2-0.

The second-ranked school, Andover from the Northwest Suburban division completed the season with 23-7-1 to place second in the rankings.

Chanhassen HS hockey team plays in the Section 2AA Division alongside Minnetonka Skippers and stands third in the 2022-23 Class 2AA league.

Since the new season of high school hockey has been started, these programs will try to perform even better. Other schools whose performance was below par in the last season will also give their best to upset the stronger teams. 

The table here shows the ranking of the high school hockey for 2023:

1.Minnetonka High School (MN)
2.Andover High School (MN)
3.Chanhassen High School (MN)
4.Andover (MN)
5.Edina High School (MN)
6.Benilde St Margarets High School (MN)
7.Warroad High School (MN)
8.Maple Grove High School (MN)
9.Hermantown High School (MN)
10.St Thomas Academy (MN)
11.Moorhead High School (MN)
12.Cretin Derham Hall High School (MN)
13.Holy Family Catholic High School (MN)
14.Grand Forks Red River High School (ND)
15.St Johns Prep (MA)
16.Rogers High School (MN)
17.Delbarton School (NJ)
18.Catholic Memorial High School (MA)
19.Eden Prairie High School (MN)
20.Duluth East High School (MN)

How Long are High School Hockey Games?

High school hockey games are about one and a half hours to two hours long. The length of the games may differ from school to school.

Three regular periods of 15 to 17 minutes are played with 12 to 15 minutes of intermission between the periods. The total length of the game is determined by the duration of the period and intermission.

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One of the most prominent high school leagues, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has decided the 17-minute time for each period and 15-minute breaks between the periods.

If we calculate the length of the game based on this format, a game is completed in 81 minutes with 3 regular periods and 2 breaks (17 x 3 = 51 minutes and 15 x 2 = 30 minutes).

However, there may be a requirement to play longer if the game is tied at the end of regular play. In such instances, the game will go to overtime play. The length of an overtime play is usually 8 minutes.

If the winner is not declared even after playing overtime, the match will go to a shootout. Obviously, overtime play and shootouts will further extend the game. Moreover, unintentional stops also elongate the game time.

High School Hockey Overtime Rules

When a game is tied at the end of the regular time, the match will go for an overtime play in order to declare a winner.

The following rules are applicable for an overtime play during the high school hockey games:

  • The ends are switched for the teams before starting the overtime play
  • Both the teams must stay in the bench area
  • A 3-minute rest period will be provided before starting the overtime play
  • Sudden death overtime, usually a 5-8 minute period is played
  • If no goal is scored even after the completion of the overtime period, the game will advance to a shootout
  • The game will be officially recorded as a tie, where a shootout is followed to determine a winner
  • The score after playing the 8-minute overtime period will be the official score for the match

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