How Much Do Hockey Referees Make? [Updated!]

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In the NHL, the referees’ salary is equivalent to that of an NHL head coach. However, they have less job security with fewer games and poor leverage in contract negotiations.

Most hockey fans know that the referees are the men and women who oversee the game and keep the action going. They may also know that the referees are the only ones who are allowed to blow the whistle to stop the play and initiate a review of a call. What many people may not know is exactly how much the referees make. We did some research and compiled a list of the minimum, average, and maximum monthly salaries of NHL referees.

Minimum Monthly Salary

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum monthly salary for an NHL official is $3,720. Taking time off for meals and games on the side, an NHL referee can expect to earn about $5,400 per month. This is significantly less than the $13,000+ that the average NHL head coach earns.

Average Monthly Salary

The median annual salary for an NHL official is currently $36,000+. While this is higher than the $32,000 annual salary of a teacher or a $31,500 annual salary of an engineer, it is still significantly less than the $52,000+ that the average NHL head coach makes. Averaging about 31 games per season, an NHL referee can expect to make $18,000 per month. After taxes, this adds up to about $5,400 per month, lower than what they make primarily in October and November, the least popular months for the salary survey due to fewer games than in the other months.

Maximum Monthly Salary

Due to the prestige that comes with the position and the limited number of opportunities in the NHL, the maximum monthly salary for an NHL official is about $13,000. The highest paying months for an NHL referee are October and November, leading up to and including the All-Star break, when they make an average of $13,500 per month. After the break, their income drops to $12,000 per month, which is still significantly higher than their minimum salary. Only three out of 152 months (about 2%) earn the maximum salary. This is significantly higher than the 1.8% of NFL referees who earn the same.

Summary

From the lowest minimum to the highest maximum, this is a range of at least $13,000 in potential income that an NHL referee can expect to make each month. Unfortunately, due to the instability of the position, it may not be the best choice for those who are seeking financial security. In the NHL, the referees’ salary is equivalent to that of an NHL head coach. However, they have less job security with fewer games and poor leverage in contract negotiations.

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