Who gets paid during an NHL lockout?

It's a question that has been filling up Twitter feeds, Facebook and message boards on a regular basis: Who gets a paycheck during an NHL lockout? The answer is pretty convoluted but a recent article from USA Today helps shine some light on the situation. 


To paint with a very broad brush, most NHL players will not receive a paycheck. However, there are several instances where players will still get paid. 

Injured players. If the player suffered a hockey-related injury and is still unfit to play, he is entitled to receive paychecks until he is cleared to play. For example, Marian Gaborik had shoulder surgery and was expected to be sidelined until November. If the league closes its doors on September 15th, Gaborik will still get paid until he returns to full health. 

Signing bonuses. Remember those bloated signing bonuses that Ryan Suter, Shea Weber and Zach Parise recently were given? They will still receive them even in the event of a lockout. Nashville would owe Weber $13 million for 2012-13 regardless of whether he appears in a single game. 

A player could opt to sign a deal abroad but if he suffers an injury he could be facing some steep consequences from his NHL club. For instance, a player could be suspended without pay if he was to suffer a serious injury while playing in the KHL.

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr and Bill Daly

These three will not receive paychecks during an NHL lockout (a topic we discussed earlier here at PDL). This is somewhat significant as Bettman and Daly both still received salaries during the 2004-05 lockout – a point that obviously angered fans. Considering Gary Bettman earned a reported $8 million last year it's safe to say he would be missing out on some hefty paychecks during a lockout. 

NHL referees

The previous lockout saw NHL officials / referees receive a percentage of their regular salary. It's unclear whether this would happen again if 2012-13 was to see a lockout but it's a fairly safe bet to assume it would. 

Local broadcasters

For the most part, local broadcasters will not see any paychecks during a lockout. This is due to the fact that the bulk of broadcasting contracts are paid at a per-game basis. No games. No checks. It's as simple as that. However, some senor/veteran broadcasters that aren't paid at a per-game basis may still see a percentage of their usual salary.

Team employees

This is a tough one as each team will deal with their staff individually. Where the Calgary Flames have already announced their staff would receive a cut in pay possibly as early as September 16th, other teams have remained mum on the situation. Some might hold steady in the hopes a lockout is brief. Others might join the Flames and make cuts immediately. 

The status of pay for a team staff will likely evolve depending on the length of a lockout. Some teams might endure but eventually have to hand out pay cuts / dismissals if the lockout is a prolonged one.

Concessions / Stadium employees

These are the people you have to feel for the most. The vast majority of these individuals only make their money when a game or event is taking place at the arena. No hockey, no paycheck. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but it's clear that concessions and stadium employees would suffer the most as they wouldn't have any games to work. 

About David Rogers

Editor for The Comeback and Contributing Editor for Awful Announcing. Lover of hockey, soccer and all things pop culture.