The Average Coaching Salary
By Andrew Parker - April 14, 2023

Being a successful head coach can determine the outcome of a game, and we see the greatest of them being rewarded handsomely. The leader of any sports team is one of the most important components, which is no different in the NHL. The salaries of NHL head coaches will be discussed in this article. NHL coaches are said to get an average salary of between $2.5 and $3 million per year, even though all NHL coaching wages are not disclosed to the general public. Since 1944, when Frank Boucher received $5,000 for his coaching services, there have been no contracts for NHL head coaches. Although still, a far cry from the millions we see now, the $5k that seemed so tiny in 1917 is now worth $114,178.12 today.

Getty images/Getty Images Entertainment/ Vivien Killilea/ Stringer

Regarding top-tier head coach wages, the NHL, specifically its coaches, trail behind other leagues like the NFL and the NBA. The average head coach wage in the NBA is $3 million, the NHL is $2.5 to $3 million, and the NFL leads with a $5.5 million average. However, all of these sports have similar overall coaching compensation on average. The NHL remains lagging even among the best coaches, with Todd McLellan, the highest-paid head coach, only making $5 million annually. Gregg Popovich, the highest-paid NBA coach, earns $11 million yearly, while Sean McVay, the highest-paid NFL coach, earns between $15 and $18 million.

Since disbanding in 1917, the National Hockey Association, a league that had previously existed, led to the formation of the NHL. Teams have since prioritized having talented players on the rink and staff the bench. In 1996, Ken Hitchcock of the Dallas Stars received a pay package of $275,000 over two years, marking the first significant wage rise for the head coaching post. Stanley Cup victories also function as a bonus system for head coaches, allowing them to earn more money.