How Much Do NHL Referees Make?
How Much Do NHL Referees Make? Refereeing in the NHL, or any sport for that matter comes with similar pressures and performance expectations of the athletes, but how do their salaries stack up?
The NHL has four officials on the ice at any given time, 2 referees, and 2 linesmen. The referees are responsible for general supervision of the game and calling penalties. Linesmen are responsible for calls that violate rules involving the center line and bluelines such as icing and offside. Two other major responsibilities include breaking up fights and dropping the puck for faceoffs. There is occasionally overlap in the roles as linesmen can contribute by identifying violations like too many men on the ice or major penalties. The final decision however still sits with the referees. The difference in these responsibilities is also reflected in the salaries for the officials.
In the NHL, refs make somewhere between $165,000 and $360,000 per year. The range in salary comes down to officiating experience and comes out to $1,500 to $3,000 per game. NHL linesmen make somewhere between $110,000 and $235,000 per year. In 2021, the minimum salary for an NHL player is $750,000. So despite facing huge pressure and needing to make split-second decisions just like the athletes, NHL officials are not compensated on the same level.
When compared to the other major sports, NHL referees make a comparable salary. NFL referees have been reported to make about $205,000 per year, while NBA referees make $250,000 per year on entry-level contracts. MLB umpires come in somewhere in the range of $120,000-$350,000.