For those who aspire to become an NHL coach, undoubtedly one of their main concerns is how much they can expect to earn for their services. While coaching a professional sports team can be an immensely rewarding experience in terms of personal and career fulfillment, it’s always important to know what you’re getting into financially.
Fortunately, the NHL has a standard salary structure for coaches, so there are some general expectations that aspiring coaches can rely on as benchmarks for salary negotiations with teams. However, like any employment situation, there are variables that can influence a coach’s salary significantly.
In this post, we’ll delve into the factors that determine an NHL coach’s salary and outline typical salaries for both head coaches and assistant coaches. We’ll examine different types of contracts that coaches may be offered and explore whether coaches with more experience or better track records earn higher pay than their less accomplished counterparts. By the end of this article, readers will have a solid understanding of the current state of affairs regarding compensation for NHL coaches.
“Coaching staff members play an enormous role in the success of their teams, but not all coaching positions are created equal when it comes to salary.”
So if you’re curious about becoming an NHL coach and want to discover the ins and outs of how your salary could be shaped, keep reading!
The Average Salary of an NHL Coach
According to a report by Forbes, the average salary for an NHL coach is around $1.6 million per year. However, this number can vary greatly based on several factors such as experience, team success, and market size.
In comparison to other major North American sports leagues, NHL coaches are paid less than those in the NFL or NBA but more than their counterparts in MLB.
The highest-paid coach in the NHL currently is Joel Quenneville of the Florida Panthers, who earns a reported annual salary of $6 million.
Understanding the NHL Coach Salary Structure
NHL coaches’ salaries are typically structured differently than players’. While player contracts often include bonuses and incentives based on performance, coaching contracts tend to be more straightforward with guaranteed pay.
Furthermore, NHL coaches do not receive any portion of league revenue sharing like players do, which can limit their earning potential compared to players.
Salary Trends and Growth Rate of NHL Coaches
Over the years, there has been steady growth in the salaries of NHL coaches. In 2014, the average salary was around $1.25 million, while today it sits at approximately $1.6 million.
This increase can partially be attributed to the overall growth of the league in terms of revenue, viewer demographics, and popularity. As the league becomes more profitable, teams have more resources available to attract top coaching talent.
Factors Influencing NHL Coach Salaries
There are several factors that can significantly impact an NHL coach’s salary. One of the most critical elements is prior coaching experience and success. Winning championships and working for successful organizations can make coaches much more attractive to higher-paying teams.
Another crucial factor is the market size of a team and its revenue potential. The most prominent teams, such as those based in New York or Toronto, tend to have larger budgets for coaches’ salaries and can more easily attract top talent.
The overall state of the NHL coaching job market also plays a role in compensation levels. When there are many available coaching jobs and fewer candidates, salaries may not be as competitive. Conversely, when open positions are scarce, qualified candidates may command much higher pay.
“Coaches who get paid well typically do so because they’ve been involved with successful organizations.” – Craig Custance, Editor-in-Chief of The Athletic
While NHL coaches may not earn as much as some other sports leagues’ coaches, they still enjoy substantial salaries. Pay varies depending on factors like experience, success, location, and demand, making it difficult to predict how much any given coach might make, but the average sits comfortably at around $1.6 million per year.
Factors that Affect an NHL Coach’s Salary
Coaching Experience and Track Record
One of the most important factors that determines how much a coach makes in the NHL is their experience and track record. Head coaches with several years of experience under their belt and success on their resume are typically paid more than novice coaches or those with lackluster records.
The average salary for an NHL head coach is $1.6 million per year, but this can vary significantly depending on experience and performance. For example, Mike Babcock was one of the highest-paid coaches during his tenure with the Toronto Maple Leafs, earning over $6 million per year due to his highly successful track record.
“The top five coaches (by salary) had a combined 39 playoff appearances in 72 seasons.” – TSN Hockey Analyst Travis Yost
Team Performance and Achievements
Another key factor that impacts an NHL coach’s salary is the performance of their team. If a coach leads their team to a Stanley Cup championship or consistent playoff appearances, they may be offered a higher salary as a reward for their achievements. On the other hand, if a team consistently underperforms, the coach’s salary may be impacted negatively.
In some cases, teams may also offer bonuses or incentives for certain milestones or achievements. For example, a coach may earn additional compensation for leading their team to a division title or winning the Jack Adams Award, which is given annually to the NHL’s best head coach.
“It’s clear that teams value great coaching, evidenced by rewarding high-performing coaches not just with long-term deals but significant salaries” -Frank Seravalli, TSN Senior Hockey Reporter
Market Size and Revenue Generation
The market size and revenue-generation potential of a team can also impact how much their coach is paid. Teams in major markets with sizable fan bases and high attendance rates may generate more revenue, allowing them to offer higher salaries for coaching staff. Conversely, smaller-market teams with lower revenues may be limited in the salaries they can offer.
It’s worth noting that revenue isn’t always tied directly to market size. Some small-market teams have seen success on the ice and built dedicated fan bases, which can lead to increased merchandise sales and other revenue streams. In these cases, coaches with successful track records may still earn competitive salaries despite being part of a smaller market.
Player Salaries and Team Budgets
The final factor that can impact an NHL coach’s salary is the overall budget of the team and the salaries of the players on its roster. Coaches typically make up a relatively small portion of a team’s overall spending, but they are still impacted by the financial constraints faced by the organization.
If a team has several high-salaried players on its roster, there may be less money available to invest in coaching staff. Alternatively, if a team is able to maintain a lower payroll or sign cost-effective contracts, they may be able to afford higher salaries for coaches and other personnel.
“The push-pull between maximizing player payrolls/salaries versus investing in front office/coaching staff is a regular one across pro sports.” – Mike Ozanian, Forbes Senior EditorOverall, the NHL coach’s salary is determined by a range of factors including their experience and track record, team performance and achievements, market size and revenue generation, and player salaries and team budgets. While the average salary among head coaches is around $1.6 million per year, this figure can vary significantly depending on individual circumstances and negotiating factors.
Highest Paid NHL Coaches
NHL coaches are responsible for leading their teams to victories and bringing home trophies. Their role requires an extensive knowledge of the game, a strong leadership ability, and an unwavering commitment to drive their players towards success. Because of these factors, head coaching roles in the National Hockey League (NHL) require a significant amount of experience, skill, and training.
The question remains: how much do NHL coaches make? We’ll take a look at some of the highest-paid NHL coaches of all time, examine the pay scale for high earning coaches in the 2020-2021 season, and explore why top NHL coaches earn such impressive salaries.
Top 5 Highest Paid NHL Coaches of All Time
“There is no doubt that successful NHL coaches with long careers stand to earn substantial sums of money,” says David Pagnotta, Editor-In-Chief and Founder of The Fourth Period Magazine. “In today’s sports market, compensation levels have skyrocketed significantly more than a decade ago.”
In the history of the NHL, there have been many highly respected and revered head coaches. However, specific coaches have risen to prominence not only because of their achievements but also due to the significant earnings they’ve accumulated over their careers. Here are the top five highest-paid NHL coaches of all time:
- Mike Babcock: $50 million
- Joel Quenneville: $38 million
- Peter Laviolette: $28 million
- Lindy Ruff: $22 million
- Darryl Sutter: $20 million
Babcock, who served as both coach and general manager, earned his fortune from stints with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, Quenneville led both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers to victories in three different Stanley Cup championships.
Many of these highly paid coaches contributed to their success by investing in their own development, attending training camps and workshops, and surrounding themselves with talented support staff.
Highest Paid NHL Coaches in the 2020-2021 Season
“The highest-paid coaches in the league are consistently pushing the standard for what others can expect out of contracts,” says Cody Benjamin of The CBS Sports. “From signing bonuses to performance incentives to guaranteed money over multiple years, top coaches now get all sorts of perks that weren’t around even a decade ago.”
The 2020-2021 NHL season saw some surprisingly high earning head coaches. In general, NHL coaches’ salaries vary according to experience, team budget, and overall record. Here’s a rundown of some of the top earners from last season:
- Mike Babcock: $6.25 million (Toronto)
- Pete DeBoer: $3.75 million (Vegas Golden Knights)
- Joel Quenneville: $3.5 million (Florida)
- Bruce Cassidy: $3 million (Boston Bruins)
- Guy Boucher: $2.5 million (Ottawa Senators)
These coaches earned their substantial amount of money because they held key positions at teams with significant budgets but also expected results commensurate with those budgets. Many of them have proven track records and are highly respected in professional hockey circles, which justifies the premium salary they command.
Salary Comparison of Top Paid NHL Coaches vs. Top Paid NHL Players
“The highest-paid coaches have made an almost absurd amount of money, especially when compared to their players,” says Cody Benjamin of The CBS Sports.
Even so, the salary of a top NHL coach is nothing compared to what a remarkable player like Connor McDavid can earn. According to the Forbes Magazine’s 2021 listing of NHL’s highest earners, here’s how the top five unpaid coaches stack up against the top five highest-paid players:
- Mitch Marner: $15.9 million (Toronto Maple Leafs)
- Auston Matthews: $15.2 million (Toronto Maple Leafs)
- Carey Price: $13 million (Montreal Canadiens)
- Jacques Demers: $42.5 million (all-time high paid coach still lags behind Carey Price in earnings)
- Steve Yzerman: $45.7 million (all-time high paid coach still doesn’t match any of the top earning active players.)
The market for head coaches evolved at a significantly slower pace than that of players in the past decade. While coaches’ salaries continue to rise steadily, it is unlikely they’ll get close to the astronomical amounts earned by top earning NHL players anytime soon.
Factors Contributing to the High Salaries of Top NHL Coaches
“In addition to longevity and overall success, being successful as an NHL coach typically means having a thorough understanding of analytics trends and advancements in sports science,” explains David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period Magazine. “Successful coaches remain on the cutting edge of technology and strategic development while also possessing a keen ability to cultivate talent and motivate a roster.”
The great amount of responsibility placed on NHL coaches pushes them to constant development, self-improvement and aligning themselves with the best support staff available. The high salaries are a reflection of the level of skill required for excellence in this field.
NHL coaches hold key positions that can make or break the performance of their respective teams. They play an indispensable role in strategic planning and decision-making which is critical to success. Therefore, owners of these teams understand the significant benefits that come from offering top dollar compensation packages.
A highly paid coach must work diligently to ensure they live up to team expectations by employing advanced strategies and analytical approaches. The pressure to perform at such a high level can also contribute to higher earnings since it encourages accountability and dedication beyond what most average jobs demand.
There is no doubt that being an NHL head coach comes with lots of hard work and responsibilities. Top NHL coaches earn substantial amounts of money because of the knowledge, talent, and experience required to succeed in this competitive environment. Moreover, coaching income varies depending on factors like budget, team performance, and individual track record, among others. Nevertheless, despite relatively high pay, coach salary falls short compared to superstar players’ earnings in today’s market standards.
Lowest Paid NHL Coaches
NHL coaches are vital to the success of their teams. They make game-changing decisions and lead their team both on and off the ice. But just how much do NHL coaches make? While head coaches can make upwards of millions of dollars, some may be surprised to learn that not all NHL coaches earn a high salary.
Top 5 Lowest Paid NHL Coaches of All Time
Coaching in the NHL is known for its attractiveness, but there have been very few coaches over the years who earned a meager amount compared to others. Here are the top five lowest paid NHL coaches of all time:
- Bruce Boudreau – $42,500 per season with Washington Capitals in 2008-2009
- Lindy Ruff – $55,000 per season with Buffalo Sabres from 1997-1998 to 2000-2001 seasons
- Glen Sather – $60,000 per season with New York Rangers/Boston Bruins/Edmonton Oilers from 1976-1980 seasons
- Scotty Bowman – $65,000 per season with St. Louis Blues in 1967-1968 season
- Dave Lewis – $75,000 per season with Detroit Red Wings in 2005-2006 season
Lowest Paid NHL Coaches in the 2020-2021 Season
In the current NHL season (as of 2021), the average head coach salary sits around $2.6 million annually while assistant coaches earn an average of $300,000 yearly. However, there are still some coaches earning less than this amount. Here are the lowest paid NHL coaches for the 2020-21 season:
- Sheldon Keefe – Toronto Maple Leafs – $1.6 million
- Ralph Krueger – Buffalo Sabres – $3.9 million
- D.J. Smith – Ottawa Senators – $800,000
- Jared Bednar – Colorado Avalanche – $3.5 million
- John Hynes – Nashville Predators – $2.25 million
Keep in mind that while these salaries may seem low, they still earn more than most people. It is important to note that a coach’s salary can vary based on many factors including their experience and overall success within the league.
Salary Comparison of Lowest Paid NHL Coaches vs. Lowest Paid NHL Players
It’s not just players who get paid well in the NHL, even though it often seems so. While some head coach salaries exceed those of their players, there are still others whose salaries do not come close…
“Even though you make a good living compared to most people, nothing compares to what your players make. There’s no comparison.’’ -Sheldon Souray, former Montreal Canadiens player
In fact, according to CapFriendly, an online database that tracks NHL contracts, the minimum NHL player salary is currently set at $700,000 annually – much higher than the lowest-paid NHL coach. The difference in pay can be attributed to several reasons, such as collective bargaining agreements between teams and players or the highly competitive nature of the sport.
NHL coaching is a challenging and rewarding profession, but it can sometimes result in lower annual compensation for some experienced or talented coaches. Fortunately, this does not affect the quality of their work and ultimately, it comes down to a love for the sport.
Salary Comparison: NHL Coaches vs. Other Professions
NHL coaches play a critical role in developing and guiding teams, motivating players, implementing strategies, and winning games. The job requires long hours, extensive travel, high-pressure situations, and exceptional skills and knowledge of the sport. But how much do NHL coaches make compared to professionals in other industries?
NHL Coach Salaries vs. NFL, NBA, and MLB Coaches
The salaries of NHL coaches vary based on their experience, performance, team success, and location, among other factors. According to the latest data from Statista, the average annual salary of an NHL head coach was around $2.6 million as of 2021.
In comparison, head coaches in other major sports leagues typically earn higher salaries on average. For instance, according to Business Insider, the average yearly pay for NFL head coaches was approximately $6.5 million, while NBA head coaches earned $6.18 million per year, and MLB head coaches took home $4.66 million annually on average.
It’s worth noting that these figures represent the mean values across all the teams and coaches in each league. In reality, some coaches may command significantly higher or lower salaries depending on their reputation, achievements, and market value.
NHL Coach Salaries vs. Top Executives in Other Industries
While NHL coaches may not earn as much as some of their counterparts in other sports, they generally make more than many professionals in other industries. For example, according to Indeed, the average salary for a CEO in the United States is around $193,200 per year.
In comparison, even the lowest-paid NHL coaches still earn well above this amount. According to ESPN, the least expensive coaching staff in the NHL for the 2021-22 season (the Arizona Coyotes) had a combined salary of over $3 million, with head coach André Tourigny making a reported $1.9 million annually.
Salary Comparison of NHL Coaches vs. NHL Referees and Linesmen
The salaries of NHL referees and linesmen are often lower than those of coaches, as they work fewer games and have less responsibility for team performance. However, they still play vital roles in ensuring fair play and enforcing rules during games. According to Referee Magazine, the average yearly pay for an NHL referee is between $165,000 and $360,000, while linesmen typically earn slightly less.
Despite the lower salaries, NHL refs and linesmen still need extensive training, experience, and professionalism to succeed in their roles. They must be knowledgeable about the rules and procedures of the game, able to make split-second decisions under pressure, and communicate effectively with players, coaches, and fans.
NHL Coach Salaries vs. Average Salaries in Other Sports-Related Jobs
Beyond coaching and officiating, there are many other sports-related jobs that NHL enthusiasts may pursue, such as sports analysts, broadcasters, marketers, agents, trainers, scouts, and more. According to PayScale, some average salaries for selected sports-related jobs in the United States as of 2021 include:
- Sports commentator: $67,000
- Marketing manager (sports industry): $84,200
- Athletic trainer (college/professional team): $48,700 – $69,800
- Sports agent: $61,400 – $110,900
Of course, these figures represent only a small selection of sports-related professions and can vary widely depending on factors such as location, experience, education, and employer. However, they give a rough idea of how NHL coach salaries compare to those of professionals working in related spheres.
“At its core, being an NHL coach means navigating high-stakes situations while managing people, systems, and unpredictable events.” -Alex Wong, The Score
NHL coaches generally earn less than head coaches in other major sports leagues but still command substantial salaries compared to many other professionals. While the job requires intense dedication, expertise, and skill, it also comes with unique rewards like leading successful teams, building relationships with players, and contributing to the growth and excitement of the sport.
How to Become an NHL Coach and Maximize Your Salary
Educational and Career Requirements for NHL Coaching
Becoming an NHL coach requires a combination of education, experience, and networking. While some coaches may have played in the league themselves, it’s not always a requirement. However, having a strong knowledge of the game is vital.
Most NHL coaches start out by coaching at lower levels, such as college or minor leagues. This provides valuable experience working with players and implementing strategies on the ice.
In terms of education, many coaches hold a degree related to sports science, management, or business. This can provide a foundation in leadership, communication, and other skills necessary for managing a team.
Networking and Building Relationships in the NHL
Networking is crucial in any field, and the NHL is no exception. Coaches need to build relationships with players, agents, and other professionals in the industry in order to find new opportunities and advance their careers.
One way to network is by attending scouting events or hockey conferences where industry insiders gather. It’s also important to cultivate relationships with other coaches and team executives in order to stay connected and informed about potential opportunities.
While building these relationships, it’s essential to maintain a professional image. Maintaining privacy and discretion can help establish trust with others in the industry and make coaches more desirable candidates for job openings.
The Importance of Experience and Continual Learning
Experience is critical when it comes to coaching in the NHL. Many successful coaches built their careers through years of apprenticeship and learning from others in the field.
Continuing education is also important for staying up-to-date with best practices in the industry. Attending coaching workshops or seminars can provide new insights and skills for managing a team effectively.
Coaches also need to be continuously learning about the game itself. Watching games, analyzing plays, and keeping up with trends in the league are all important ways to stay informed and make strategic decisions on the ice.
How Much Do NHL Coaches Make?
“The average salary for an NHL coach is around $1.6 million per year,” according to The Hockey Writers. However, this figure can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, and team performance.
At the lower end of the scale, coaches may earn closer to $600,000 per year. However, top-performing coaches working for successful teams can earn over $4 million annually.
In addition to their base salary, many coaches receive bonuses or incentives based on team performance, playoff success, or other benchmarks.
It’s worth noting that some assistant coaches or specialized coaching positions may earn less than head coaches. For example, goalie coaches tend to have a smaller role in overall team strategy and may therefore earn less money.
Becoming an NHL coach can be challenging, but by building a strong foundation of experience, education, and networking, coaches can position themselves for success. With dedication and hard work, they can maximize their earning potential and lead their teams to victory on the ice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average salary of an NHL coach?
The average salary of an NHL coach is approximately $2.6 million per year. However, this number can vary based on experience, team performance, and other factors.
How does an NHL coach’s salary compare to other major sports coaches?
Compared to coaches in other major sports leagues such as the NBA and NFL, NHL coaches generally earn less. However, top-performing NHL coaches can still make millions of dollars per year.
What factors determine an NHL coach’s salary?
The main factors that determine an NHL coach’s salary are their experience, team performance, and market demand. Coaches who have won championships or have a strong track record of success are often paid more.
Do NHL coaches receive bonuses or incentives in addition to their base salary?
Yes, NHL coaches can receive bonuses and incentives in addition to their base salary. These may include performance-based bonuses for making the playoffs or winning the Stanley Cup, as well as other incentives negotiated in their contracts.
How has the salary of NHL coaches changed over the years?
The salary of NHL coaches has increased significantly over the years, with top coaches now earning millions of dollars per year. This is due in part to the growing popularity and profitability of the NHL as a league.