I was fiddling around with my personal budget today, and for one reason or another, I got to thinking about NHL salaries.
Take Thomas Vanek, for example.
I have NO idea what sort of taxes you have to pay when you make that kind of money, and I’m waaaay too lazy to try to figure it out, so for simplicity’s sake let’s just say that with taxes, agent fees, union fees, and of course the dreaded escrow, Thomas Vanek only sees about 50% of his annual salary in the form of cash. I actually suspect that it’s much less than that, but I like “50%” because it means I just have to press “÷ 2” on my calculator to figure out his (totally made-up at this point) take-home pay.
So, at the most, Vanek is taking home a measly $3,571,428.50 in cash a year. I know! How does he survive?
When I started thinking about writing this post, I DMed Mike Harrington on twitter, and he was nice enough to answer a few questions. According to Mike, hockey players only get paid during the regular season (meaning no paychecks during the preseason, which I think is a little odd), and they get paid every two weeks. Don’t even try to pretend that information isn’t strangely interesting.
A hockey season is between 25-28 weeks long. Let’s call it 28 weeks, because it’s a nice round number. We’ll pretend this is an Olympic year, and therefore a longer season.
So, you take $3,571,428.50 and divide it by 28 weeks, and then you multiply that by 2 to figure out what Thomas Vanek’s paycheck looks like.
According to my (super scientific and not-at-all based on complete guesses) calculations, Thomas Vanek gets a paycheck for $255,102.07 every two weeks during the hockey season.
Now, I didn’t do all this math (math is hard!) so that we can marvel at how rich Thomas Vanek is, and I definitely didn’t bring it up to cast negative light on Vanek’s salary. He’s a highly skilled and incredibly rare athlete. All the power to him, I say.
But, the idea of getting a paycheck for a quarter of a million dollars is downright hilarious to me. I actually did the math on this, like, five times, because the number seems so preposterous when I think about it in the form of a paycheck.
The number brings up all sorts of amusing questions.
Do you think he has direct deposit? I have direct deposit at work, but my boss still walks around on payday handing everyone their fake checks. Does Larry Quinn come through the locker room every other Friday and hand everyone a ridiculously huge check? Is Thomas Vanek’s locker at HSBC filled with pay stubs for a quarter of a million dollars that all have, “this is not a real check” written on them? Is it possible that Vanek DOESN’T have direct deposit? Can you imagine Thomas Vanek standing in line at the bank, waiting to deposit his $250,000 after work on Friday? Do you think they get excited about payday the way we do? Is Vanek ever all, “Oooh, I’m going to buy that new diamond-encrusted Escalade….but not until payday,” or is payday just totally meaningless?
Is it possible that some of the younger guys are so bad with their money that they ever run out? That seems unlikely. I think the more likely scenario is that guys like Tyler Myers wind up with, like, $500,000 in their checking account by the end of the season. Then they go home to bumblefuck-wherever in the summer and talk to their family accountant and he’s all, “Dude. You can’t keep all of your money in your checking account. You have to invest this shit.” And then Tyler Myers is all, “Okay. Whatever you say Uncle Milt. Do I have enough money to buy this diamond-encrusted iphone case?” And Uncle Milt is all, “Yeah. Totally.”
These are the kind of things I think about. I don’t know why.