The life of a professional hockey player is often seen as glamorous and lucrative, and while there is no denying the excitement and potential financial rewards, the reality is that many ECHL players have to take on other jobs in order to make ends meet.
While the ECHL is one of the premier professional hockey leagues in North America, the salaries of players are still relatively low compared to other professional sports leagues. This means that many players in the ECHL have to take on other jobs to supplement their income, ranging from part-time jobs in restaurants and retail stores to teaching and coaching. This can be a difficult juggling act for players, but the majority of them take it all in stride in order to continue pursuing their dream of playing professional hockey.
Types of Jobs ECHL Players May Hold
While any job can be challenging, there are certain professions that are more conducive to being held alongside a hockey career. Based on the skill sets required to excel in these professions, certain types of jobs may be more common among ECHL players.
Academics: Many players hold associate or bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as business, marketing, sports management, or communications. These degrees can be applied in a variety of fields and may help players find part-time or temporary work during the off-season.
Banking: Banking and finance are two areas in which ECHL players can often find work based on their hockey knowledge. Hockey players are often seen as good financial risks, which can make them attractive to lending institutions.
Business development: ECHL players with experience in sales and marketing may find work in business development. While the positions can vary greatly, they are often focused on increasing sales and revenue in a company.
Marketing: Similar to business development roles, marketing professionals can often find work in the hockey industry. While many marketing jobs are focused on brand awareness and product development, some are tailored specifically to the hockey industry.
Sales: Sales jobs can be found in a number of industries and are often suited to ECHL players with experience in sales and marketing. ECHL players can often leverage their hockey connections and knowledge to win sales jobs.
Teaching: ECHL players who hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as English, math, science, or history may be able to find part-time teaching work.
Challenges of Balancing Multiple Jobs
While each profession can present its own challenges, there are several professions that may be more difficult to balance alongside a hockey career. These professions are often those that require long hours, extensive travel, or extensive physical labor.
Business development: ECHL players who work in business development may be required to travel and spend long hours in meetings and on the phone. While some businesses may be more accommodating to hockey player schedules, this can present a difficult balancing act.
Teaching: Teaching can be a difficult side-job for hockey players to balance. While most teachers work standard hours, they can often have multiple team or classroom meetings outside of the classroom. This can be difficult to balance with hockey schedules.
Construction: While some construction jobs can be done during evenings and weekends, many require hard labor. This can be both physically and mentally challenging and can be difficult to balance alongside hockey.
Physical labor: While some ECHL players may be interested in pursuing physical labor jobs, there are certain professions that can be extremely physically demanding. Retailing, for example, can require long hours on one’s feet lifting and moving heavy items, which can take its toll on the body.
Player Perspectives on Balancing Multiple Jobs
When asked about having to balance multiple jobs, few players had anything negative to say. Most players talked about their other jobs as a way to meet new people, experience different cultures, and learn more about the world around them. Several players also talked about how having multiple jobs made them feel more independent.
While these side-jobs are often necessary for ECHL players to make ends meet, many players are also grateful for the opportunity to gain experience in different fields and expand their skill set. Many players also talked about how having multiple jobs helped them manage the stress of being a hockey player. While hockey offers many benefits, it can also be a very demanding and often unpredictable lifestyle, which can put a lot of stress on players and their families. Having multiple jobs can help hockey players better manage this stress by providing them with a routine and structure outside of hockey.
ECHL Players: How Do They Balance Work, Life and Hockey?
While each player has their own unique approach to balancing their hockey careers with other jobs, there are a few common themes. With the average career length being around three years, ECHL players typically know that they may need to rely on other jobs. Many players also choose their side-jobs based on their hockey lifestyles.
A goaltenders may pursue jobs that allow them to work pre-game and after the game. This can help them avoid rush-hour traffic and long commutes, which can be a challenge for any profession. While each player has their own approach, there are a few ways that players can help themselves manage the extra responsibilities. First, players can educate themselves on their rights and obligations as employees. This can help players avoid legal issues that may result from mismanaging their side-jobs. Second, players can talk to their coaches and teams about their side-jobs. Many teams have policies in place that allow players to earn extra money while minimizing the impact on the team.
The life of a professional hockey player can be challenging, but for many ECHL players, it can be even more challenging to find time for the things that matter outside of the ice. Having multiple jobs can put a lot of pressure on players, but it can also help them achieve financial security and provide for their families. Despite the challenges that come with balancing work and hockey, many ECHL players are grateful for the financial benefits and the chance to pursue their dream.