Coaching hockey can be a rewarding career for those passionate about the sport. Many positions require that coaches have past experience as a hockey player. A hockey coach’s pay ranges from unpaid, voluntary positions to seven-figure contracts. Salary typically depends on professional level, years of experience and the success of the school, club or professional program.
The job outlook for sports coaches is favorable, with 23 percent growth projected between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rising school and college enrollment in this timespan are leading to an increased demand for coaching staff at all educational levels. The outlook for hockey coaches in particular is moderate, however. Hockey is slowly gaining popularity in the United States; according to Harris Poll data, hockey has risen two percentage points in popularity since 1985.
Elementary and Secondary School
Many elementary-level coaching positions are either voluntary or offer a small stipend as compensation. The average salary for secondary school coaches is about $30,000, notes the BLS. However, the salary often depends on the size of the school and the popularity of hockey. Coaches for boy’s high school sports typically make more than girl’s sports coaches do. For example, the American Hockey Coaches Association advertised an open position in 2010 for a girl’s hockey program director. The position offered a stipend of $14,500.
The salary of college hockey coaches is depends on the success of the program. For example, in 2007, University of North Dakota head coach Dave Hakstol received a five-year contract with a base salary of $210,000 per year. In addition, Hakstol was eligible for performance-based incentive bonuses of up to $84,000. However, the UND men’s hockey program is the number-two ranked team among Division I schools, so Coach Hakstol’s salary is the exception. The average salary for college sports coaches was about $48,600 as of 2009, according to BLS data.
The BLS lists the average salary for spectator sports coaches as about $59,000. This figure includes minor league hockey coaches. National Hockey League coaches’ salaries average about $1 million, according to a 2009 Yahoo! Sports article. Some coaches, such as former NHL star player Wayne Gretzky, make far more. As the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, Gretzky’s 2009 contract was for $6.5 million.