How Much Hockey Players Get Paid? [Updated!]

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How much do hockey players get paid? It depends on a lot of factors. The first and most obvious being the player’s career path. Do they pursue a full-time professional career or do they stay in school? There are also contracts to consider and how wealthy the owner of the team is. Here, we try to give you a general idea of how much hockey players earn based on the different options available to them.

College

Let’s start with the most obvious one and the most common career path for hockey players: college. These are generally the guys with the best combination of skills who can make the most money. However, the pay isn’t great, and it depends on where they go to school. For example, the NCAA doesn’t pay its players all that much, but many schools do (North Dakota, Minnesota, and others).

If a college player chooses to continue their education and become a lawyer or doctor, they can expect to make a lot of cash. However, unless they’re on an athletic scholarship, the pay isn’t as great as it could be. Plus, there’s a chance hockey could end up being their career. Imagine going to school and having to choose between playing hockey and paying for your tuition.

Junior College

If a player decides to skip college and go straight to Junior College, they’re not only foregoing a years worth of free education, but they could also be limiting their earning potential. That being said, Junior College hockey players can make a lot of money. However, even at the junior level, the NHL rookie minimum wage of $650,000 comes into play. Many players will get an athletic scholarship, which is essentially a free ride to school. Once they graduate from Junior College, their earnings will increase thanks to the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Again, as with college players, Junior College athletes can choose to go to law school or medical school after they graduate. They can also pursue a master’s degree, which will increase their earnings even more. It’s not a bad choice for a player, but it’s certainly not a guaranteed way to make a lot of cash. Plus, you have to consider the extra costs of going to school, which may not be covered by an athletic scholarship.

Professional

If a player decides to forgo school and go pro, they’re giving up a potentially lucrative career in academia. Instead, they’ll be making the same as a high school teacher, which can range from $30,000 to $50,000 per year. The only difference is they won’t be getting health benefits and maybe a little more freedom in their off-season. If a player decides to be a professional and stick to hockey, their earnings will increase every year they’re in the NHL thanks to the CBA. However, you can expect to make a lot less if you play in Switzerland or the Czech Republic because those leagues don’t have a salary cap. (The NHL has a salary cap of $58.4 million.)

Many professionals who play in Europe will also get an annual bonus, which can be significantly more than their base pay. For instance, many of the top professional soccer leagues in Europe give out bonuses based on performance. This can range from $25,000 to $125,000 or more, which is on top of your regular salary. (This figure does not include playoff bonuses or any league awards.)

If a player decides to go pro, they’re giving up a potentially lucrative career in academia. Instead, they’ll be making the same as a high school teacher, which can range from $30,000 to $50,000 per year. The only difference is they won’t be getting health benefits and maybe a little more freedom in their off-season.

As with college and Junior College players, professional athletes can choose to go to law school or medical school after they graduate. They can also pursue a master’s degree, which will increase their earnings even more. It’s a choice that many athletes are making now that more and more people are realizing the financial benefits of a degree. Plus, you have to consider the extra costs of going to school, which may not be covered by an athletic scholarship.

Entry Level Contract

When a player first signs an entry level contract with a professional hockey team, they have a limited no-trade clause. This means they can’t be traded for at least seven years of their professional career. After seven years, they can opt-out of the contract and become a free agent. However, if they don’t opt-out, they’ll have to accept the terms of the contract and can’t leave without permission. (This is the same for when a player is traded.) The problem is if the player doesn’t want to be there or can’t find work elsewhere, which is very common. This can leave them without a job and with very little cash. (This is why it’s important to have a no-trade clause in the contract.)

Even though the salary cap has prevented many NHL teams from going bankrupt, it has also prevented them from fully maximizing their earnings. As a result, many teams are looking for ways to increase their revenue streams, and one way is through player contracts. The problem is many of these contracts aren’t set up in a way that benefits the team or the player. When this happens, the team can end up losing money, and the players may have to settle for less money or even no money at all. This is why it’s important to read the contract thoroughly before agreeing to anything.

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