If you love hockey and have always wanted to work for your favorite sports team but lacked the on-ice skills to make the cut, don’t worry! Consider pursuing a sports management job with the NHL. It’s a great way to land a sports job you’re passionate about with a team you can support off of the ice.
Ready to find the career you’ve always wanted with the National Hockey League? Here’s what you need to know.
What to Consider When Pursuing an NHL Sports Management Career
Know Your Goals
It’s important to understand that the nature of a sports management job can vary from one position to another. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a sports management degree if you’re interested in careers in the NHL. With a certificate in sports management, you’ll be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you have relevant experience and a tremendous passion for sports in general. Perhaps more importantly, earning the certificate will involve learning about the different types of sports management jobs you may pursue in the future.
This gives you a head start at the beginning of your career. Extensive knowledge of the NHL will make determining what type of job you want to pursue much easier. For example, you may want to be a traditional sports manager, which can involve a variety of responsibilities. You might be expected to help identify and draft new players for a team, organize special events, coordinate with media outlets, and much more.
There are also specialized roles that may interest you. Perhaps you’d like to specialize in sports marketing for the NHL. Maybe you want to help with data analysis. The possibilities are extensive. Luckily, with a sports management degree, you’re far more likely to be familiar with them.
Earning a certificate in sports management will almost certainly provide you with valuable experience that will impress employers when you begin applying for NHL jobs.
That said, there are additional steps you can take to make yourself an even more attractive candidate in the future. For example, the NHL typically offers sports management internship opportunities on a rotating basis throughout the year. Getting an internship provides you with the chance to learn your future job firsthand.
It’s also ideal for networking. Sports management jobs can be competitive since it is a burgeoning industry, and many people want to get involved. You’ll, of course, have better luck landing your dream job if you have both practical experience and connections.
This isn’t to say you can’t work in the NHL without first completing an internship. It’s merely to highlight the value of getting as much experience as you possibly can. If you don’t think you have time for an internship that doesn’t pay well, you might thus begin your career by working for a university or lower-league team — yet another way to get the kind of experience that will catch the eye of potential employers.
- Assistant Director, Facilities, Operations and Event Management
Administration/Management - West Region
- Sales Management: Box Office Representative
Sports Services - Northeast Region
- Head Woman's Soccer Coach & Director of Game Management
Administration/Management - West Region
- Graphic Designer & Animator - Championship Management Sales Executive
Sports Media - Southeast Region
Consider Alternate Routes
The basics of getting a job at the NHL are similar to the basics of getting a job at any organization:
- keep an eye out for openings,
- get experience when you can,
- try to develop a professional network, and
- apply for relevant sports jobs when you do spot openings
That said, some NHL employees have also found indirect ways to begin their careers. You can learn from their examples. Being open to alternate routes provides you with more ways to break into the industry.
For example, one current NHL employee began as an intern. Their dedication during the internship resulted in being offered a contract job. Instead of being disappointed that they weren’t hired on a full-time basis right away, the employee worked diligently in this role. Doing so made a strong impression on the team. They were thus eventually offered a full-time position.
This is an option to consider. If you have the skills and knowledge required to succeed in a sports management position at the NHL, you may be able to start by offering them on a contract or freelance basis at first. By doing so, you’ll show off your skills in a genuinely practical manner, and it will naturally increase your odds of being hired in the first place.
Understand the Nature of the Industry
It’s easier to succeed in the NHL if you accept certain realities of the industry. For example, you likely won’t start as the head of your own department. When you choose what type of NHL career you want to pursue, be it marketing, general sports management, or any other path, you’ll likely start by working beneath a supervisor in the relevant department, which is common in many industries and fields.
Don’t allow this to discourage you. Instead, embrace the opportunity. Starting lower on the ladder gives you the chance to develop your skills further when the stakes are relatively low. Once you gain sufficient professional experience, you can move up to positions with more responsibilities.
All this said, if you want to work in the NHL, you can’t forget the essentials. Pursuing any career requires demonstrating why you stand out among the competition. By getting a sports management certificate and keeping these points in mind, you’ll show employers you have a genuine drive to work for the NHL. The result? A dynamic and rewarding career in sports.