To be a professional hockey player means, that player can live from hockey salary only. Certainly this could be very relative based on the country where player lives. To make it clear, let's set up the minimum annual income at $ 35.000,00 level.
Then we can make a rank of professional hockey leagues based on average player's income:
You can take the positions at that list as relevant to hockey quality level too.
There are other leagues, which fill up our mentioned minimum annual income level for at least best players in a team; leagues in Slovakia, Norway, Japan, France and Italy. In some cases also Holland and Austria and of course minor north american professional and semi-professional leagues.
Professional hockey players must make very often difficult decisions between hockey quality and possible income. It is very common, that players decide to sign a contract in second level league in Czech or Sweden against playing in some league from second group, because hockey quality is there higher even their salary drops significantly down. This applies especially for younger players, which have still certain growing potential of their hockey performance.
Such a decision could be crucial in players career. That's why is very beneficial in many cases to have a personal coach or/and experienced hockey agent. Just in NHL is more than 150 certified agents and every above mentioned professional hockey league has own certification as well. Major reason for having personal coach or agent is to have a help to accurately estimate player's hockey value and based on that evaluation, to make career plan correctly.
You can take a look at opinions from professional players, coaches and agents.
The biggest challenge and hockey dream for most of the players is to play in NHL. Perhaps someday in a future will become a truth the some kind of world league, but now, for all the professional hockey players is a top challenge to win the Stanley Cup.
There is little bit more than 700 professional hockey players, which have signed NHL contract. There is another 3,200 hockey players playing in other above mentioned professional leagues. That is around 4 thousand professional hockey players around the Globe.
If we consider reality of length of average productive professional hockey life between age 20 and 35, then we have 15 born years playing together. Certainly there are exceptions on both poles of age scale and trend is, that professional hockey life is getting longer.
Let's get back to NHL. NHL is a best professional hockey league on the Planet. The days, when canadian players where prioritized because of canadian origin only, are gone. Generally we can say, that major reason to be selected to NHL team is quality of hockey player. However it is still possible to talk about "Canadian-american" hockey league, because of fact, that 2/3 of all players are players from Canada and USA.
Let's take a look at statistic numbers of players in NHL regarding their home country:
Despite of a fact, that hockey styles got much closer to each other, we can still see different approach in particular hockey schools. It most than probably, that those differences will be visible in future as well, because of they are affected by many factors in a culture, a climate, a hockey traditions, structure of national hockey associations and membership. And this is also beauty of the ice hockey.
Best chances to see those differences, are during top prestige international tournaments. This is always big festival of ice hockey and it is great satisfaction for all hockey hungry fans from all around the Globe to together play the best professional hockey players.
Since Nagano 1992 we can see the best play at Olympic hockey tournament.
Other great festival of hockey is World Cup, originally Canada Cup.
Regardless of absence of players playing Stanley Cup play offs, the very good tournaments are World Championships.
There are some others like already traditional competition between best player from Canada and Russia. And more...we'll bring you always updated info by RSS.