If you didn’t make it as a professional player, or even if you never played a game in your life, there are plenty of hockey jobs out there that let you stay involved with the game you love.
1. Hockey Referee
It might be crossing over to the dark side, but you can learn how to become a referee. After all, referees are an essential part of the game. And unlike the other jobs on our list, hockey referees enjoy the added benefit of working on the ice and up close to the action.
If you have a love of the sport and a thing for the rules, you may be the perfect candidate. You’ll have the chance to climb the ranks to more and more competitive (and lucrative) work as you gain certification and experience.
2. Hockey Coach
Coaching is a rewarding avenue for many ex-players. Volunteering to coach your child’s team is a great way to get your feet wet. Or if you played in college, you may be an attractive candidate for advanced-level jobs—a star goalie could become a goalie coach, etc.
Like teaching, coaching is a vocation, and coaching youngsters successfully requires a particular temperament. If you don’t like dealing with young players, set your sights on upper-level teams.
3. Athletic Trainer
A natural way to marry your love of ice hockey and healthy living is to become an athletic trainer. Many student athletes major in sports medicine because they are realistic about their chances of going pro after college.
Athletic trainers are highly valued and responsible for helping players heal and remain in tip-top shape. Consequently, becoming a trainer usually requires, at minimum, a four-year degree from an accredited program.
4. Hockey Equipment Manager
Hockey teams at the pro and college levels need someone to manage the gear. As equipment manager you’ll do everything from laundry to ordering practice pucks. You’ll have to know player preferences and superstitions. Does the star like his gloves air dried between periods, or is he worried changing anything will bring bad juju?
You’ll keep up with new technologies in skates, sticks, and helmets, follow industry trends, and deal with vendors. Because the hockey equipment manager is also johnny-on-the-spot with tape, blades, sharpeners, and tools, he’s widely respected in the clubhouse.
5. Hockey Writer
If you have a love of hockey and words, consider becoming a hockey writer. Hockey writers often come up through the reporting ranks in traditional news outlets, covering local games, teams, and players.
Some ex-players become hockey bloggers who write insightful product reviews and colorful pieces about the lifestyle—the woes of traveling with hockey gear, the arenas with the best locker rooms, or which team’s fans are the absolute worst, for example.
Additionally, marketing departments for NHL and other professional-league teams need creative and skilled writers who have walked the walk, or at least who can talk the talk.
6. A Job at Pure Hockey
We didn’t even mention the many career possibilities in retail and manufacturing. Successful retailers like Pure Hockey are always looking for highly motivated experts with sales and business acumen.
So don’t despair—if you love hockey and have some degree of expertise, you should have little trouble finding a hockey job that will keep the lights on and make you happy, to boot.