How much are referees in the NHL paid?


Athletes and coaches are not the only integral components of hockey culture – referees and Zamboni drivers are just as crucial.

From the NBA to the NFL, all referees are constantly faced with tough decisions, questionable calls and unexpected fights from athletes on the court or the field. But hockey, in particular, breeds some of the toughest referees in the game.

NHL referees have to deal with the bizarre fighting culture included in hockey, but does their compensation show for it? Let’s check out how much the average NHL referee is paid.

How much are NHL referees paid?

While NHL ref salaries do not come close to player salaries, the tedious job is definitely worth the check.

According to FanBuzz, on average, a full-time NHL referee gets paid anywhere from $165,000 - $360,000 annually. This is approximately 10 percent of the average annual salary of an NHL player, who makes about $3 million per year.

How much do NHL referees get paid in the postseason?

NHL refs don’t earn a salary in the postseason, however, they are compensated properly through a generous bonus. They earn $27,000 per round worked in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, according to Scouting The Refs.

How much has the highest paid NHL referee earned in a single season?

The highest paid NHL referee was Frank Udvari. In 1966, he was paid the highest annual salary – $22,600. Converted from the value of USD in 2022, this approximates a $207,032 yearly salary.

How do you become an NHL referee?

Referees are typically former hockey players who have noteworthy skills and understanding of the sport. However, anyone can be a ref. To be honest, the process, which includes intense training, is right at your fingertips.

To become a ref, the first step is to approach your local officiating governing body. This can be Hockey Canada if you’re in Canada or USA Hockey if you’re in the states. You can also visit your local league office. 

After contacting one of these organizations, they will put you on your way to the next step, which is game experience and training. Here you will receive an in-depth education about ice positioning, signals and penalty calls.

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