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Interesting Jobs: The Coolest Hockey Gigs on (and Off) the Ice

If you love hockey, then these jobs are a real power play.

When you were growing up, you practiced your drop pass and slap shot as you dreamed of playing center for your favorite National Hockey League (NHL) team. You’d imagine that you’re on the ice for game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs scoring the winning goal just before the horn.

And then, somewhere along the line, reality kicked in.

Maybe you blew out your knee or, more realistically, you just realized you didn’t have the skills to be an NHL player. That’s okay. The vast majority of us don’t.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of your favorite hockey team. You can use the skills that you’ve developed since hanging up your skates to get a cool job somewhere else in the organization. Here are seven of the coolest hockey jobs off (and on) the ice with your favorite NHL team.

1. Equipment Manager.

A hockey team’s equipment manager is a Jack-of-all-trades and a go-to problem solver for the team. Duties can vary from handling laundry and arranging the team’s uniforms to be ready for games to sharpening skates, ordering supplies and drying gloves and pads in between periods during games.

If there is a piece of equipment or uniform that the players or coaches use during games or practice, the equipment manager needs to know all about it. Is there another brand or style available? Does the player want it kept clean or are they superstitious about rubbing off the good luck? It’s all part of a day in the life of an NHL equipment manager.

The good news is that equipment managers are not the forgotten and unappreciated members of the team that you might think. They are there for anything the players need before, during, and after games, and players generally love them for it.

Qualifications for these careers: Attention to detail, multi-tasking, and patience. Lots of patience.

2. Video Producer/Editor.

Think of all the times you’ve been to a game and that giant scoreboard lights up and plays an awesome intro for the team. Or it may have a tribute video to honor a retiring player or coach. The video board helps to engage the crowd and make the game-time experience more exciting. That means somebody has to make and edit all of those clips.

The video producer/editor is in charge of finding footage to use, adding graphics that make the video more interesting, and then adding in the right music to bring it all together. Then, once it’s all put together it needs to run smoothly and at the right times during the game.

It definitely takes a lot of skill to do it right, but how much fun would it be to see a crowd of 20,000 rabid hockey fans cheering and rocking the arena to a video that you’ve put together?

Qualifications: Knowledge of video editing software, graphic design, video shoot coordination and script writing. Working knowledge of what will work a hockey crowd into a frenzy is a plus.

3. Youth Hockey and Fan Development Coordinator.

Remember how much you loved playing in hockey leagues as a kid? The NHL loves that, too. Getting kids into hockey while they’re young is the best way for them to develop tomorrow’s NHL All-Stars as well as the next generation of hockey fans.

A Youth Hockey and Fan Development Coordinator is the person who essentially serves as the liaison between and NHL team and those kids. This person helps to create, supply and operate youth hockey leagues. They’ll also find ways to create a strong link between those young hockey fans and they’re NHL employer. Youth classes, special game day events and contests are all a part of the job.

If you truly love the sport, this hockey  job helps you spread that love and nurture it in the next generation. How cool is that?

Qualifications: Entertainment marketing, coaching or education background, event planning and passion for all thing hockey.

4. Operations Manager.

Think about everything that goes on during an NHL hockey game from a fan’s perspective. You have the music, the food, the drinks, ushers who guide you to your seat, security teams, and (yikes!) those bathrooms! That’s where the operations manager comes in.

For each part of the hockey experience that you get to enjoy as a fan, there is someone else responsible for making that happen. Someone is choosing and playing that pump-you-up music. Teams of people are working to cook and sell that food and those drinks. And, yes, someone is trying to keep those bathrooms supplied and as clean as possible for you.

Think of the operations manager as a sort of building supervisor. This person makes sure the arena is ready for game time by organizing the crews to set up the rink. They make sure the parking lots are cleared of snow and debris. They manage the staff that is hired for game day operations is ready to provide a top-notch experience.

Qualifications: Team management, attention to detail, problem solving, excellent communication skills and healthy blood pressure.

5. Massage Therapist.

Professional athletes put their bodies through a tremendous amount of stress. To keep their muscles pliable and ready for action, most NHL players require regular deep-tissue massage sessions. That means NHL teams hire massage therapists to be on hand during workouts, off days, and even during games to help knock the kinks and cramps out of those valuable muscles.

NHL massage therapists even travel with the teams. They need to know each player’s trouble spots and help them speed their recovery between games with the right kind of massage. Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but since there are only 30 teams, that means there are only 30 of these positions out there. It’s a good gig if you can land it.

Qualifications: Massage therapy license, ability to travel, knowledge of sports injuries/medicine, and very, very strong hands.

6. In-Game Social Media Coordinator.

Are you the type of person who loves to watch your favorite show or sporting event and then Tweet about it or post on other social media channels to try to engage your friends? If so, you may have a career as an In-Game Social Media Coordinator in the NHL. Social media is playing a bigger and bigger role in sports these days.

IGSMC’s do just what you think. They watch the game and try to find fun and clever ways to post to social media and engage with the team’s fan base. This can include paying attention to great plays, creating spur-of-the-moment GIF’s or short videos, or even answering questions from fans. Sound fun?

Qualifications for these careers: Solid understanding of hockey and NHL rules, social media savant, photo/video editing skills, ability to self-edit before posting something on social media.

7. Zamboni Driver.

Of course this list of cool hockey jobs wouldn’t be complete without this job, right? Technically, the machine is called an ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni is a brand name named after Frank J. Zamboni, who invented the machine.. It’s kind of like not all copiers are Xerox’s or hot tubs are Jacuzzi’s.

Here’s the bad news, if you think the ice surfacing machine driver’s job consists of jumping on that bad-boy and driving it in circles, you’re sadly mistaken. While the job may not take any formal education, a good ice resurfacing machine driver has a passion for perfect ice. Not every player wants the same type of ice, either. Just the right temperature, just right speed, and all of the right settings on the machine are required to get that ice in perfect game time shape.

Qualifications for these careers: Basic mechanical knowledge, ability to drive in circles, passion for perfect ice.

So even if you’re days on skates are numbered, there is still a chance that you can find a way to work in the sport that you love and wear the logo of your favorite team. Head to the NHL’s career page today and see if there is a hockey job that would fit you. On the ice or off it, you might find the coolest job of your life.

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