Undertaking a career as a professional Hockey Player is undoubtedly a path full of rewards and personal satisfaction. However, it can also be challenging, causing you to juggle school, training, and games while focusing on your personal development. So, it is worth understanding how much you can make and your career prospects in this field.
OHL players don’t earn a salary, as they are not recognized as workers under the Employment Standards Act. Yet, they count on benefits such as annual reimbursements, all education costs paid, and free tickets. They also get free meals, equipment, apparel (on/off-ice), and transport.
The OHL is committed to providing an ideal, safe, and comfortable environment for all of its players. So, as a member of one of the teams, you will receive all the support you need throughout your career. Let’s see how!
In 2018, the Ontario Hockey League Commissioner David Branch requested that the 425 players in the league keep their “amateur athlete” title. Since Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford has accepted this request, players in the OHL cannot be considered as workers regulated by the Employment Standards Act.
Therefore, players in this league do not receive a standard salary each month. However, each player’s career and vocation is supported in several ways. Indeed, the organization takes care of all costs related to education, transport, and board.
Certain scholarships are also available. In the case of a successful season, each player might perceive a bonus related to their performance during the season. During off-season periods, instead, each player can receive up to $1000 in reimbursement.
Considering that the majority of OHL players are students or graduates, the type of support they receive is enough for them to achieve high results at school or college and have a comfortable life.
But don’t be fooled; the process to be selected can be challenging! The interview below can give you an idea of what to expect:
While Ontario’s Premier had supported the decision of Commissioner David Branch not to consider OHL players as regular workers, the organization does not fail to support its players in all possible ways. Below, you will find some of the player’s benefits that you can expect from joining OHL, but you will discover many more once you are on a team.
While OHL players do not receive a salary as such, they benefit from the organization’s financial support. Here is what to expect from the OHL once you have been accepted:
- The organization covers all education costs.
- Scholarships and board.
- $500 career-ending insurance.
- Free tickets for the player and his family.
- $1000 offseason expense reimbursement per year, per team.
- All transport costs are included.
- Extra bonus depending on that season’s performance.
99% of OHL players are students or graduates that have attended college. Therefore, the organization pays specific attention to educational needs. The benefits that players get in relation to their education are quite impressive.
As part of the help provided, the OHL Centrally Administered Scholarship Program provided scholarship help for over 340 players, with a spending of over $3 million in the 2018-2019 season.
Some of the types of support you can count on include:
- Free sessions with an Academic Advisor and included personal tutoring (if needed).
- A personalized academic plan that is explicitly designed for student-athletes who have different schedules to follow.
- Free access to GameSlam, a tutoring platform that offers online support to students 24/7.
- All players are provided with high-quality technical support and technologies to assist them in the learning path.
- They receive financial support covering all education and education-related costs and expenses. This help includes tuition, material, compulsory fees, books, room and board costs.
- Each player can also benefit from scholarships supplied by the team they are playing for.
In addition to the benefits seen above, the OHL plans games and meetings according to schools’ schedules. Indeed, over 89% of the games happen between Thursdays and Sundays, giving them enough time to attend school and work towards the best grades. Moreover, such a schedule is essential to minimize transport time during school days.
Just like in the case of official games, all practice is scheduled for after school hours. Even more importantly, players cannot be traded between teams unless both the player and his family agree to such a move.
While joining the OHL can represent a significant investment for young people between 16 and 21, this choice can be extremely rewarding from a personal and professional perspective. Indeed, the OHL is committed to looking after all of their players’ careers, creating as much opportunity for their career - as a player and beyond.
All players have access to:
- Full-time and assistant coaches that can help them develop all of the skills needed for career advancement.
- Each player has access to the expertise of full-time therapists, dentists, physicians, and physiotherapists.
- OHL players can leverage the services of nutritional coaches, team doctors, and liaison officers.
- Players benefit from strength and conditioning training.
While not all medical care is provided by the team, players have access to services that ensure that they are fit and healthy for playing. These include:
- A team of doctors
- Professional emergency care present at every game - available for all players
- Experts from the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and mental health coaching
- Mandatory mental health awareness workshop called Talk Today
- Some dentist services included
Some additional benefits that would entice any potential OHL hockey player include:
Free tickets for the player and his family
- Zero transportation cost
- On and off-ice apparel provided
- Meals are supplied
- All technical equipment and performance wear is provided
OHL players are young players between the age of 16 and 21. The OHL is a league, including 20 teams, and each team member’s development has become paramount for the organization.
Indeed, any development aspect of the players - including professional, educational, and personal, is attentively looked after by the organization. Several programs, such as Talk Today and GameSlam, have been implemented to coach and guide the young players along a successful path.
Indeed, these players do not receive a salary - at least in the traditional meaning of the term. However, since they don’t need to worry about covering college fees, they can truly focus on achieving outstanding results.
While not earning or working during these crucial years of your life can represent a sacrifice at first, you should keep in mind that the prospects for OHL players are extraordinary.
Suppose you are thinking about joining the OHL. In that case, it is impossible not to mention the incredible results that this league has achieved in the past years. Indeed, over 190 OHL graduates have entered U SPORTS Men’s Hockey rosters.
Moreover, this league is among the ones that provide the highest number of players to the National Hockey League (NHL). Since 1969, the organization has helped over 2,370 players enter the NHL.
Ultimately, if you are sure that a career as a professional Hockey player is for you, choosing the OHL is undoubtedly one of the best choices you could make. While you will need to work hard and juggle practice and school, the results can be extremely satisfying!
If you decided to take your Hockey passion a step further and become an OHL player, you could be sure that the league will support you in all ways. While you might not receive a salary as such, all of your expenses - including meals, apparel, education, and transport - are covered.
In addition, it is not uncommon for OHL players to receive an annual bonus or reimbursement because of their performance. Lastly, it is worth considering that this can represent a significant investment for your future career, especially as playing for the OHL can open many doors!
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