How Much Do Junior Hockey Coaches Make? [Expert Review!]

Spread the love

The job description for a junior hockey coach is pretty straightforward – get the most out of the kids you have and prepare them for the next level. The pay is dependent on a number of factors, including the team’s budget and their willingness to spend, the strength of the league, and the length of the season. In this article, we will discuss the different pay structures and how much you can expect to earn per year, based on both actual data and our estimations.

Coaching Junior Hockey

While there isn’t a lot of research on junior hockey coaches specifically, there is a wealth of information on the subject of sports coaches in general. Based on publicly available data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for coaches at all levels of organized sports – ranging from high school to professional – was $66,250 in 2019. Breaking that down to junior hockey specifically, the median annual income is $40,000. More than half of all coaches (54.3%) reported an annual income of $30,000 or less in 2019.

The BLS data is only available for the 50 largest occupations in the United States, so it is likely that the numbers for junior hockey coaches are skewed to favor larger cities. Nevertheless, the data is still revealing, as it illustrates just how much less lucrative coaching junior hockey is compared to coaching at the collegiate or professional level.

Salary Schemes For Junior Hockey Coaches

The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is only available for 2019, but we looked into the past to get an idea of what was typical back in the day. With that in mind, let’s examine several major Junior Hockey League salary schemes and how much they might have paid in 2019 (based on the BLS data).

NHL (National Hockey League)

The National Hockey League (or NHL for short) is the premier professional ice hockey league in the world. The bulk of the league’s franchises are located in North America, and each year nearly a quarter of a million fans attend one of the 16 regular season games. As you would expect, the pay for an NHL coach is through the roof. In fact, the median annual income for an NHL coach was $92,000 in 2019.

The highest paid coach in the NHL in 2019 (Bruce Boudreau) earned $1.65 million per year. Coaches in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and United States Hockey League (USHL) are also significantly rewarded with the CHL having the highest median annual income of $74,000 and the USHL paying its coaches the lowest of $40,000. That’s a significant gap between the two leagues. One potential reason for this is that the NHL is a much more competitive league and generally requires more coaching expertise to be successful. It also gets pretty cold in Canada and the United States, so keeping the players healthy is a huge consideration. The coaches in the CHL and USHL haven’t had the same level of pressure to perform as the coaches in the NHL. Finally, it should be mentioned that some NHL coaches are paid a great deal more than others. Those coaches who work for the New York Rangers or one of its affiliates are paid an above-average amount based on the teams’ success. The median annual income for an NHL coach is also higher than that of a coach in the other three junior hockey leagues combined.

CHL (Canadian Hockey League)

Unlike the NHL, the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) doesn’t have a salary cap. This means that the teams in the league can and often do pay higher wages than their American counterparts. The bulk of the CHL’s teams are located in Canada and the United States, with a smaller number of teams in Europe. The most recent expansion teams to enter the league were the Belleville Senators and Ottawa Senators, both of whom were admitted in 2018. As with the NHL, the pay for an CHL coach is through the roof. In fact, the median annual income for an CHL coach was $74,000 in 2019.

The highest paid coach in the CHL in 2019 (Frank Seravalli) earned $1.6 million per year, while the lowest paid (Scott Arniel) earned $40,000 per year. This is a significant gap between the two coaches, but it’s worth noting that in both cases the teams that employed the coaches had limited success in 2019 – the London Knights, for instance, went 4-20-2 in the regular season and lost in the first round of the playoffs, while the Brampton Battalion went 7-19-4 and missed the 2019 post-season entirely. So it could be said that not only is the pay for an CHL coach lower than that of an NHL coach, but the teams that employ them don’t achieve the same level of success either. It’s a pretty decent gig if you can get it, but coaches in the other three junior hockey leagues combined earned a combined total of $52,000 more per year than their counterparts in the CHL in 2019. This suggests that the better your team does, the greater the increase in pay you can expect.

USHL (United States Hockey League)

The United States Hockey League (USHL) isn’t as popular as the other three leagues discussed above, but it’s still considered to be one of the more promising junior hockey leagues. The bulk of the league’s teams are located in the United States with a smaller number also being represented in Canada and Mexico. As with the other two leagues, the pay for an USHL coach is through the roof. In fact, the median annual income for an USHL coach was $45,000 in 2019.

The highest paid coach in the USHL in 2019 (Craig MacTavish) earned $1.65 million per year, while the lowest paid coach (Glen Gulutzan) earned $25,000 per year. This is a significant gap between the two coaches, but it’s worth noting that in both cases the teams that employed the coaches had limited success in 2019 – the St. Louis Blues were 15-16-1 and missed the playoffs, while the Laredo Bucks went 11-14-3 and made it to the second round of the playoffs. This suggests that in the USHL, just like in the other two leagues, the better your team does, the greater the increase in pay you can expect. It should also be mentioned that MacTavish was the head coach of the Calgary Flames in the NHL in 2017-2018, during which time he earned $1.85 million per year.

Mid-Majors And Collegiate Coaches

Most people are under the impression that coaching at the collegiate level is far more lucrative than coaching at the junior level, but that just isn’t the case. The majority of college coaches work part-time, and the pay isn’t stellar – only 48.7% of them had an income of $60,000 or more in 2019. Nevertheless, the income for a mid-major or collegiate coach is still fairly high, with the median salary standing at $45,000. Based on the BLS stats, the lowest paid coaches (at both the collegiate and junior levels) in the U.S. don’t make much more than the national average, with the mid-major and collegiate levels paying significantly above the average. This can be attributed to the increase in competition at the higher levels – there is more scrutiny and more students paying attention, which results in higher grades and increased potential for being admitted to a good school. Just like in the other three leagues above, the better your team does, the greater the increase in pay you can expect.

In conclusion, coaching junior hockey is a job that doesn’t have to be done. It’s very rewarding to see the kids progress and develop as athletes, but the pay can be incredibly demanding. It’s not impossible to make a living off of coaching, but it certainly isn’t easy. If you are looking for a coaching job, the best bet is to find a reputable organization that is at the minimum wage or below. If you are able to secure a position with a club, you should consider it a bonus and not the main source of income. Having a stable job and being able to coach the kids you love most is all that matters at the end of the day.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!