They're paramedics, masseurs, psychologists and strength coaches. Head trainers of NHL teams do everything from refilling water bottles to attending to virtually every knocked-out tooth. Their duties cover a broad spectrum—and so does their salary range.
Chris Mizer, trainer for the expansion Blue Jackets, makes roughly $40,000 a year. "It's certainly not the money that attracted me," says Mizer, who jumped at the chance to work for an NHL team. At the other end of the scale, the trainer for a recent Stanley Cup champ earns $100,000 per year, plus bonuses for championships and the like. More typically, trainers are paid in the $70,000 range. For example, the Red Wings' John Wharton, a 10-year veteran, makes about $75,000.
You can't put a price on a good trainer's skills. Ask former Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk, whose neck was slashed by a skate in 1989. Blood gushed from the six-inch cut until trainer Jim Pizzutelli arrived and applied pressure to the jugular vein, saving Malarchuk's life. "If you have a $50 million player payroll," says Maple Leafs winger Gary Roberts, "a trainer isn't where you should try to cut costs."