What Hockey League Pays the Most? (Top 5 Highest Paying Leagues)

Most hockey players play the game for fun.

But… There’s a small percentage of hockey players who compete at higher levels that can actually get PAID to play.

Imagine that!

While it isn’t a high-paying sport compared to other major professional sports like American football, basketball, or baseball… it can certainly pay well depending on what league you’re in.

Whether you’re a fan of the game and are just curious to find out how much hockey players make around the world… or you’re a hockey player looking to make a living from the greatest game in the world—then this article’s for you. 

In this article, we’ll show what the highest paying hockey leagues are in the world—including the exact minimum salaries of the top 5 leagues in North America and Europe. 

Let’s dive right in.

Here’s What What Hockey Leagues Pay the Most:

The highest paying hockey league in the world is the National Hockey League (NHL) in North America. Players make a league minimum salary of $775,000 USD. The average salary is $2.69 million per year.

What Are the Top 5 Highest Paying Hockey Leagues?

Here are the highest paying hockey leagues in the world:

1. NHL –  $2.69 million USD Avg. Salary

2. KHL (Russia) – $425,000 USD Avg. Salary

3. NL (Swiss) – $228,000 USD Avg. Salary 

4. SHL (Sweden) – $110,000 USD Avg. Salary

5. SM-Liiga (Finland) – $100,000 USD Avg. Salary

What Is the Minimum NHL Salary?

The National Hockey League has a minimum salary of $775,000 as of the 2022-23 NHL season. This is an increase of $75,000 from the 2021-22 season where the minimum salary was $700,000.

The entry level salary also increased from $925,000 in the 2021-22 season to $1,000,000 in 2022-23.

What Is the Minimum AHL Salary?

As of 2021, the minimum salary for American Hockey League (AHL) players is $51,000 USD.

What Is the Average AHL Salary?

As of 2022, the average salary for a player in the American Hockey League (AHL) is $53,414 per year.

This works out to roughly $25.68 per hour, $1,027 per week or $4,451 per month.

Do ECHL Players Get Paid?

Yes, ECHL players get paid.

ECHL teams are required to pay rookies a minimum salary of $500 per week.

Returning players (in second year or later) are required to make a salary of $545 per week.

How Much Do ECHL Players Get Paid?

The ECHL has a weekly salary floor of $10,600 per week—around $40,000 per month (or $500,000 per year).

For a 20-man ECHL roster, this means players will make, on average, about $25,000 per year.

However, the league requires a minimum payment of $500 per week to rookies and $545 per week to returning players which works out to about $26,000 per year for rookies and $28,340 for returning players.

What Are the Top Paying European Hockey Leagues?

Wondering what the top paying European hockey leagues are?

While there are dozens of different leagues in several European countries, there are only a few which pay a lucrative amount.

Here are the top 4 highest-paying European leagues:

1. KHL (Russia) – $425,000 USD Avg. Salary

2. NL (Swiss) – $228,000 USD Avg. Salary 

3. SHL (Sweden) – $110,000 USD Avg. Salary

4. SM-Liiga (Finland) – $100,000 USD Avg. Salary

Do KHL Players Get Paid?

Yes, players in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) get paid.

It is a requirement for any player to receive a salary. Though, whether there is a league minimum is not certain.

The average KHL player earns about $425,000 USD per year.

How Much Do KHL Players Get Paid?

The KHL—Kontinental Hockey League—is the second highest-paying hockey league in the world.

It’s second in the world in terms of player compensation, only behind the NHL.

Players in the KHL earn an average annual salary of $425,000 USD.

However, the top players in the league earn millions.

How Much Do Hockey Players Make in Denmark?

In Denmark’s professional hockey league—Metal Ligaen—hockey players earn an average salary of about $28,000 USD per year.

How Much Do Hockey Players Make in Finland?

Finland has one of the highest-paying hockey leagues in the world (fifth highest).

The SM-Liiga hockey league pays their hockey players an average annual salary of $100,000 USD per year.

What Is a Swedish Hockey League Salary?

Sweden is one of the most popular hockey countries in the world.

Their top-tier league is the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). It pays players an average salary of $110,000 USD per year.

How Much Do Professional Hockey Players Make in Slovakia?

In Slovakia’s league (Extraliga), hockey players can earn anywhere from $18,000 to $64,000 USD per year.

What Is the Alps Hockey League Salary?

The Alps Hockey League is a European league comprising teams from Italy, Austria, and Slovenia.

The average annual salary of an Alps Hockey League player is $15,000-$35,000 USD per year.

Do NHL Players Get Paid?

Yes, NHL Players get paid. 

The league requires all players to be paid a minimum salary of $775,000 USD per year as of the 2022-23 NHL season.

The average salary is $2.69 million USD per year.

How Do NHL Players Get Paid?

NHL players are paid similarly to other professions—payments made twice per month.

Players are paid their salary by direct deposit into their bank accounts at the middle and the end of every month during the NHL’s regular season.

Who Is the Highest Paid Hockey Player in the League?

The highest paid hockey player in the NHL (and the world) is Connor McDavid. He is paid $12,500,000 USD per year.

Do NHL Players Get Paid Weekly?

No, NHL players don’t get paid weekly. Instead, they’re paid twice a month: one direct deposit in the middle of the month and one at the end.

Looking for more answers to the most common hockey questions? Be sure to check out our other popular blog posts: How Does Hockey Billeting Work, What Are the Best Video Cameras for Filming Ice Hockey, and What Are ODR Rules (9 Rules for Beginners)?






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