Hockey, by no means, in its most popular form, i.e on an icy surface is not the most popular sport in the world. Although it belongs in the same category of team sports like universal sports like soccer and basketball, it has a limited reach but it hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the most lucrative sports in the world, enough to produce a long roster of rich players that make a list of the richest hockey players in the world.
Despite its lack of universality, it has benefited from being a fast-paced contact sport, a sporting trait that has been known to attract several million people around the world. This has made it an attractive destination for endorsement deals and allowed its players to earn several million in salary per year.
For hockey fans and those who are curious about the earning potential of a hockey career, here is a list of richest hockey players in the world.
The Richest Hockey Players In The World
1. Alexander Ovechkin – $60 million
Some players become so great at their sport that their name becomes synonymous with success and in one of the many names with such status in hockey, Alexander Ovechkin is one. The Russian hockey player has been playing professionally since 2001 and has solidified his name in hockey history as one of the best players to ever play the sport.
Captain of the Washington Capitals in the NHL, Ovechkin has won multiple awards and trophies, including the much-coveted Stanley Cup. He has won the Maurice Richard Trophy eight times and has been named in the NHL All-Star game over nine times.
With such prestige in his career, it is no wonder that Ovechkin is one of the highest-paid players in the NHL and over the course of his career, places first among the largest contracts in the NHL with $124 million earned over 13 years. He is currently top 10 among the highest-paid players in the National Hockey League with an annual salary of $10 million per year.
2. Joe Thornton – $60 million
Joe Thornton might be yet to retire from playing hockey actively, but he has spent enough time and achieved enough to become one of the top names in the history of the sport. He has been named in the NHL All-Star Game, a whopping six times and has won the Hart Memorial Trophy and Art Ross Trophy at least once.
Internationally, he has represented Canada at the Olympics and the Hockey World Cup, winning the top prize in both competitions. It is no wonder that such a resume has earned him a net worth of $60 million.
3. Sidney Crosby – $55 million
It would be hard to have a list about hockey that doesn’t include a few Canadian players and Sidney Crosby slides in at number three among the richest hockey players in the world right now with a net worth of $55 million.
Sidney has accrued his admirable net worth from over twelve years in the NHL, having joined the league in 2005 via the Pittsburgh Penguins. Since then, his high-level performances at the center for the Penguins have placed him among the highest-paid players in the league.
Not only has he raked in a lot of money since he became a professional player in the NHL, but he has also raked in the trophies too. Sidney Crosby, in addition to being worth $55 million, is also a winner of multiple awards and trophies, including the biggest trophy in the NHL, the Stanley Cup, which he has won thrice. Other trophies include Prince of Wales Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, and the Ted Lindsay Award.
4. Marian Gaborik – $47 million
The National Hockey League (NHL) has witnessed the presence of several hockey players from various nationalities around the world and one notable name is Marian Gaborik, a Slovakian ice hockey player who became a professional player in 1998 and remains a player to date.
Marian Gaborik, over the course of what has been over two decades, has played for various NHL teams like Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators, amassing over 1100 games in both regular and playoff competitions. He has won the Stanley Cup once, with the Los Angeles Kings and has been named in the NHL All-Star Game thrice, in 2003, 2008 and 2012.
Internationally, Marian Gaborik, who has been able to amass a personal net worth of $47 million over the course of his playing career, has also represented his country, Slovakia, several times in various competitions, at both junior and senior level.
5. Pavel Datsyuk – $47 million
Another nationality that is a regular fixture among the best hockey players in the world is Russia and one of her players rounds up the top five of the richest hockey players in the world right now, in the name of Pavel Datsyuk. Pavel has had a long career as a hockey player, enough to earn the nickname, The Magic Man, and to amass a net worth of $47 million.
Not only is he one of the richest hockey players in the world at the moment, but he is also one of the greatest NHL players of all time. Although he currently plies his trade for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg in the Kontinental Hockey League, he spent his time in the NHL playing for the Detroit Red Wings, where he won the Stanley Cup twice.
Internationally, Pavel has also proven to be quite the successful man as he has an Olympic Gold medal and a World Championship gold to his name.
6. Ryan Suter – $45 million
You are more likely to find leading American sportsmen in football, basketball or baseball but among the minority is Ryan Suter, who has managed to stand out in a sport dominated by Canadians and Russians.
A defenseman, Ryan Suter’s exceptional talent has helped him to a net worth of $45 million, earned over the course of a career that began in 2003 with the Nashville Predators. Since he joined the NHL, he has played for only two teams, with the other being the Minnesota Wild.
Although his individual achievements do not compare to some of the other names in this list, he has a few of his own such as three appearances in the NHL All-Star Game and some international achievements with the US Hockey team.
7. Jason Spezza – $43 million
The seventh richest hockey player in the world right now is Jason Spezza, who plays for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He has been a professional player since he was 15 years old when he joined the Ontario Hockey League. He has forged a career ever since, to the highest height of the world of hockey, playing for NHL teams like the Ottawa Senators and the Dallas Stars.
A hockey center, Jason Spezza may not currently be among the highest-paid players in the NHL but a career with over 15 seasons in the league has helped him to a net worth of $43 million. On an individual level, he has won the Spengler Cup trophy, which he won with Team Canada.
Others include a gold medal at the 2015 Hockey World Championships and silver medals at the 2008 and 2009 versions of the competition. He also has a few awards and achievements to his name, such as the Les Cunningham Award and double appearances in the NHL All-Star games.
8. Nicklas Backstrom – $40 million
When you have spent over a decade playing at the highest level, while also being one of the best players in your position, you are bound to command high-level salaries that in turn, help you build a significant net worth. That is the story of Nicklas Backstrom, whose net worth of $40 million places at number eight among the richest hockey players in the world.
He began his career playing for the Swedish team, Brynas IF before he made the move to the NHL through the Washington Capitals. But for a solitary season playing in the KHL for Dynamo Moscow, he has spent the entirety of his senior career playing in the NHL for the Washington Capitals. Now an alternate captain for the team, he is the team’s all-time franchise leader in assists and won the Stanley Cup with the team in 2018.
With a significant list of personal records such as the first NHL rookie to record four assists in two consecutive games and the youngest Swedish player ever in a World Championship, it is hard to not see how Backstrom would be one of the richest hockey players in the world right now.
9. Thomas Vanek – $38 million
Thomas Vanek is currently a free agent, having recently been released from the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL, but do not let that fool you. He has had a long career playing at the highest level, having played for the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, and a few others.
Although he is yet to win the most-coveted Stanley Cup, he has proven to be a quality team player and has been well compensated for it, enough to accrue a personal net worth of $38 million. Some of his records include being the highest-drafted Austrian in NHL history and an appearance in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game.
10. Eric Staal – $38 million
Rounding up the top ten list of the richest hockey players in the world right now is Eric Staal, a Canadian hockey player who plays for the Minnesota Wild in the National Hockey League. He joined the league in 2003 and he is one of four Staal brothers who have made their name in hockey.
Not only is he a part of a family legacy but he is also a member of the Triple Gold Club of Hockey, having won the Stanley Cup, the World Championships and the Olympics. Eric Staal holds a few personal records of his own too, including most career post-season points, most hat-tricks in a single season and most goals in a single season.
He has scored over 400 goals in over 1000 pro-hockey games and his proficiency is why he has been earning high enough in salary to boast of a net worth of $38 million.