Guide To Becoming a Hockey Coach

Hockey coaching can be incredibly rewarding. Just ask Herb Brooks – one of the winningest hockey coaches in history and the leader of the world-famous 1980s “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympics team.

Whether you’re wondering how to become a youth hockey coach, how to become a professional hockey coach, or what it takes to get into field hockey, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to become a hockey coach.

What does an ice hockey coach do?

Ice hockey coaches have a wide variety of responsibilities. They’re responsible for the following:

What does an ice hockey coach do
  • Organizing practice
  • Constructing workout regiments
  • Providing conditioning and playing advice
  • Sharpening individual and teamwide hockey skills
  • Building teamwork and camaraderie
  • Managing player emotions
  • Calling plays
  • And more

As the coach of an ice hockey team, you will take a group of individual players and turn them into something more significant than the sum of its parts. That takes hard work, dedication, and a great understanding of hockey and human psychology.

The coach’s role is the same whether you plan on coaching ice hockey, field hockey, or even roller hockey. You’ll always be tasked with managing players and their emotions and turning individuals into a team.

Do you need a degree to coach hockey?

High-level coaches typically have either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant subject like physical education, physiology, or nutrition. But you don’t technically need a degree to get a job as a hockey coach.

It’s often the case that high-level playing experience or coaching skills can overcome a lack of a degree. But earning a degree is a wise decision if you want to give yourself the best chance of getting your dream job.

It’s also worth mentioning that some hockey coaches teach and coach hockey after school. If that’s what you’d like to do, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate to get a job.

How much money do hockey coaches make?

The average hockey coach’s salary is about $55,000 in the United States. However, this figure varies considerably based on the level and type of hockey coaching you do.

For example, NHL coaches will make considerably more money than youth hockey coaches – just like college coaches earn more than high school coaches on average.

If you become a teacher who coaches hockey on the side, you’ll make your living teaching and earn a stipend for the work you do in hockey.

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How do I become a coach with no experience?

It can feel daunting to go from having no previous hockey coaching experience to getting your first coaching job. But people do this all of the time. Here are three steps you can take to do the same.

Start Getting Experience

First, you’re going to want to begin getting experience now. You can do that by volunteering for unpaid hockey coaching roles in youth sports leagues and summer camps.

You might also want to look into private coaching lessons – especially if you are a high-level hockey player. These will allow you to earn some income while getting the experience you need to eventually qualify for head coaching jobs.

Look for Certifications

It’s also worth taking a look at the certification options out there for hockey coaches. Earning a certificate from a respectable organization like USA Hockey can go a long way toward helping you stand out when applying for hockey coaching jobs.

Build a Network

It’s also important to begin working on building a network. The more people you know in the field, the better. Because you never know who’s going to give you your big break. You can work on networking at games, summer camps, coaching seminars, and other hockey events.

What makes a good hockey coach?

Good Hockey Coach

Of course, you need to have a good understanding of the sport of hockey to be a good hockey coach. But that’s just the beginning of what makes a good hockey coach.

According to USA Hockey, the defining attributes of strong hockey coaches are:

  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Communication
  • Passion
  • Leadership

Most of these involve how you connect with people. The more you can form bonds and lead others, the better you’re likely to be as a hockey coach. You can begin working on these skills now – whether you’re close to applying for hockey jobs or not.

Hockey coaching books to get started

Books are a great way to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become a good coach. Here are three worth checking out if you’d like to learn more.

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Where to find a job

Now that you know how to become a hockey coach, you’re ready to look for hockey coaching positions. But these can be tough to find. Plus, if you apply to positions too late, the hiring director may give the job to someone else before you even get your resume in.

That’s why you should create an account with We maintain an up-to-date list of the best coaching job opportunities in the country. 

No matter what type of hockey you want to coach or the level you want to coach it at, we’ll notify you the minute that new opportunities become available. These notifications ensure that you’re always one of the first to apply for the top positions, which may increase your chances of getting hired.

So why wait? Create an account with us today to get started.