As of 2012, NHL referees earn between $1,402 and $2,682 per game, which is around $115,000 to $255,000 annually; wages vary with skill, experience and seniority. The two other officials in the game, the linesmen, make from $70,000 to $162,000 per year. Linesman are assistants to the referees and do much of the same work that referees do.
NHL salaries for referees are much greater than the national average for umpires and other sports officials, which was $23,290 per year in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Referees in the top 10 percent of all earners in the field made more than $52,370, while those in the bottom 10 percent earned less than $17,040.
Although not as prestigious or well-paying as the NHL, jobs for referees working for local governments usually pay around $25,140 annually, while jobs working in spectator sports, the performing arts or related industries made an average of $23,970. Referees working in professional, civic and religious organizations made an average of $23,400, while those working in elementary and secondary schools made around $20,230. Finally, referees working for the recreation, gambling and amusement industries made the least of all, averaging around $19,610 per annum.