Picture of NHL referees. How much do the refs make?
Read about how much NHL referees make? What do linesman make? They have a tough job to do are are compensated well.

One of the most awesome things about following hockey as a sport is the different angles there are to explore. Keeping up with the latest trade rumors in the NHL is a great example, as is checking out the latest results when the season is on.

Although lots of this can focus on players and teams, NHL refs should not be overlooked. They are, after all, a key part of any hockey game and help the league to function. If nothing else, they manage to keep some sort of order out on the ice when tempers flare!

Refs can also have a major impact on the results of NHL games and which side might win. This is something to bear in mind for anyone who likes to bet on this league. You may, for example, feel one NHL official tends to be tough on specific teams or easy on others. This would be something to factor in when betting on matches.

One thing that people often wonder about is how much do NHL refs make. This is naturally something US hockey fans can ponder, but also something NHL supporters in Canada take an interest in. With hockey and hockey betting being something of a national institution for Canadians, this is no surprise.

NHL referees: How much do they make?

The simple fact is that the salary NHL officials take home each season can vary depending on their level of experience. Senior refs with many years of experience can earn up to $460,000 per season.

Entry-level salaries for first-year refs in the NHL are lower and start around the $200,000 mark per season. If we take all of this into account, the average salary for NHL refs per year comes out around the $330,000 mark.

How many games do NHL refs take charge of per season?

If you are a keen hockey fan who likes to keep up with the latest NHL news, looking at interesting things like how much refs earn is lots of fun. Finding out how many games officials take charge of per season and how much they earn per game is a good example of this.

Whilst there is no set figure per official, most will take charge of between 50 to 73 matches per year. This can see them earn between $2700 and $5000 per match, depending on their pay grade.

Although referees in this league do not have to officiate playoff matches, they get paid extra on top of their annual salary for this. This can change each season but is generally around the $27,000 mark per playoff round worked!

What about linesmen and standby officials?

Although linesmen may not make as much as referees, they are still well rewarded. A lineman can pick up between $110,000 and $230,000 per regular season. When it comes to playoff games, linesmen can rake in around $17,250 for each playoff round worked. 

As a fallback, should the main officials be injured or taken ill, each NHL game has standby refs/linesmen ready to step in. But how much do they earn in general?

Standby refs get $1000 just for attending a regular season game and being available to step in when needed. In addition to this, they receive their usual rate of pay per game if they do have to take to the ice. Standby linesmen in the regular season get around $650 for attending games and their usual rate of pay per game for stepping into the breach.

Do injured refs get paid?

Although the above shows how refs and linesmen on standby get paid, you may wonder if the officials they cover for still get looked after. If an NHL referee misses games due to injury after the halfway point of the regular season, they get 75% of their standard salary over the post-season. If the injury occurs before the midway point, this figure drops to 50%.

Why are NHL refs paid so much?

Most people would agree that even wet behind the ears NHL referees are well-paid when you take the above into account. In many cases, they will earn more than some of the players they keep in check! But why do they get so handsomely rewarded?

Although fans might not always agree, officiating hockey games is no easy task. This is because every decision you make is under the spotlight, and you are under pressure to get these decisions right. Refs also have a massive impact on how the game goes and this puts a lot of pressure on them too.

It is also worth remembering that NHL refs can get a lot of criticism from fans, players, and coaches. This is both during matches in person and after matches via the media. It really can be a thankless job as someone is bound to disagree with every call you make and let you know about it.

Due to the above, NHL referees are well-paid in order to reward them for doing such a tough job and also make it worth their while. You only have to look at recent headlines around threats from Toronto Maple Leaf fans to Wes McCauley for proof of what they can face.

NHL referees are key to hockey

Anyone who watches hockey knows that referees are integral to the sport and key figures in any NHL match. They are not only there to enforce game rules but also to monitor player behavior and stop any foul play. Taking on these responsibilities is not always easy and it is clear to see that NHL refs get well renumerated as a result.


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