The American Hockey League is sometimes described as a semiprofessional hockey league. The reality is that all players in the AHL are professionals and they are guaranteed a minimum annual salary. Whether you are aspiring to make it to the AHL as a player or simply an interested fan, it is useful to know what these minimum salaries are.
About the AHL
The AHL is a 30-team professional hockey league based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It began in 1936 as the International-American Hockey League with eight teams. It has since grown to include 26 teams in the United States and four in Canada. The AHL is the second-highest level of hockey in North America after the National Hockey League. The AHL is considered a developmental league, because many players go on to play in the NHL and all of the teams are associated with an NHL franchise.
Players on a Standard Contract
Players who have a standard AHL contract have a guaranteed minimum annual salary. For the 2010-11 season, this salary is $37,500 for U.S. teams and $40,000 Canadian for teams in Canada. For the 2011-12 season, this salary will rise to $39,000 for U.S. teams and $41,000 for Canadian teams. In the 2012-13 season, this minimum salary will climb to $40,500 for players on U.S. teams and $42,000 for players with Canadian teams. For the 2013-14 season, the salary for U.S. clubs is set to reach $41,500 while players with Canadian clubs will receive a minimum of $43,000.
Players on Loan
A different minimum salary applies to players on loan to an AHL team from a lesser league. The salary for players on loan in 2010-11 is $31,500 for American teams and $32,700 Canadian for Canadian teams. This rate will remain the same for the 2011-12 season but will rise in the 2012-13 season to $32,500 for U.S. clubs and $33,750 for Canadian clubs. In 2013-14, the salary for players on loan will remain at the same levels.
In addition to a minimum annual salary, AHL players are guaranteed a minimum per diem for any days spent away from the player's home city to play regular- or postseason game. This per diem is $65 for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons and $67 for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. If the travel to the game takes less than 3.5 hours and the team returns promptly following the game, then the per diem is only $20.