How Much Do NHL Referees Make? Pros & Cons Of The Job

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When most people think about professional sports, they think about athletes. But what about the other professionals who help make the game happen? Referees are an important part of every sport, and their salaries vary widely depending on the league.

In this post, we’ll look at how much NHL referees make and some of the pros and cons of the job.

How Much Do NHL Refs Make?

NHL referees are some of the highest-paid officials in professional sports. They earn an average annual salary of $350,000, but that depends on a variety of factors we’ll explain below. NHL referees also receive a per-game bonus, which can add tens of thousands of dollars annually. They also receive a pension and health insurance benefits.

How To Become An NHL Referee

1. The most important thing to start is a clear passion for hockey. If you spend all day every day doing something, it might as well be doing something you love.

2. You must have good eyesight and be able to make quick decisions, skate well, and keep up with the play.

3. You will also need to obtain a certification from USA Hockey. This process includes passing a written exam as well as on-ice evaluations.

4. Once you have met the above requirements, you can apply to become an NHL referee. The application process is very competitive, so putting your best foot forward is important.

Importance Of Physical Fitness

Being an NHL referee is a demanding job. Not only do officials need to be able to keep up with the game’s speed, but they also need to be physically fit.

Refs skating up and down the ice during an NHL game. They must have the stamina to keep up with the players for the entire duration of the game. Officials must also be strong enough to handle the physicality of the sport. They often have to break up fights and restrain players who get out of control.

NHL referees undergo regular fitness testing to ensure they are physically prepared for their job. This testing includes skating drills, sprints, and other exercises that assess their cardiovascular endurance and strength. Officials who can’t meet the league’s fitness standards are not allowed to work games.

Downsides Of Being An NHL Referee

No one will ever say that being an NHL referee is easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment to succeed at this level. However, there are also some downsides to the job that people may not realize.

Here are a few of them:

1. You’re Constantly Under Pressure

As an NHL referee, you’re always under a tremendous amount of pressure. Not only do you have to make sure that you get all the calls right, but you also have to deal with the intense scrutiny of both the fans and the media. It can be a very demanding and stressful job at times.

2. You’re Always In The Spotlight

Another downside of being an NHL referee is that you’re always in the spotlight. Whether good or bad, everything you do is put under a microscope, which can be tough to deal with, especially if you’re not used to being in the public eye.

3. You Have To Travel a Lot

Another downside to being an NHL referee is that you have to travel a lot. This can be tough on your family and personal life if you’re not used to being away from home for long periods. If you want to officiate games in different parts of the country or even internationally, you need to be prepared to do a lot of traveling.

4. You Need To Be In Top Physical Shape

Being an NHL referee is one final downside: you must be in top physical shape. This is because you have to keep up with the players on the ice, which can be a challenge if you’re not used to skating at high speeds.

Advantages Of Being An NHL Referee

One of the most obvious advantages is that you get to see some of the best hockey players in the world up close and in person. You also get to travel to different cities and arenas around North America, which can be a great experience in itself. You generally will also have good job security as an NHL referee and can often count on steady work and income.

Another advantage is being part of one of the most exciting games in the world. Hockey is a fast-paced sport with a lot of action and can be very thrilling. As a referee, you get to see the action up close and sometimes even make decisions that can affect the game’s outcome. Knowing that you have such an essential role in a popular sport can be great.


NHL referees are responsible for making the right calls on the ice, maintaining order, and ensuring that the game is safe. They play a crucial role in the sport and work hard to ensure that each game is officiated fairly. While their job has its challenges, it is also very gratifying.