HOCKEY PANTS, ALSO KNOWN AS BREEZERS, are designed to protect the spine, tailbone, kidneys, thighs, and hips. Most hockey pants are made primarily of nylon with foam and polyurethane padding inserts.
- Adjustments: There are a variety of adjustment options on pants that provide the player with fitting options.
- Zippers: Some hockey pants feature zippers on the inside leg to allow for easier dressing and removal. The player can also opt to open the zippers part way to allow for more mobility while playing.
- Belt: Most pants feature an adjustable belt that allows the player to tighten or loosen the pants to a desirable fit. This feature helps accommodate the different types of padding the player wears.
- Suspenders: Some pants offer an attachment feature that allows the player to attach suspenders to the pants. Some players prefer suspenders because they can adjust the waist belt to a looser fit.
- Styles: There are two styles of hockey pants: European and North American. European-style pants generally have a little less padding but are slightly longer than North American–style hockey pants. Tackla and Graf are European-style manufacturers. Players with more speed tend to wear the European models because they offer more flexibility and freedom of movement. More physical players tend to prefer the extra padding North American pants provide.
- Women’s pants: Women’s hockey pants are specifically designed to fit a woman’s body shape. For proper protection and game enhancement, women should wear these pants.
Begin sizing pants based on your waist size:
Personal preference determines how loose or tight the pants are worn, but make sure they are not so loose that they shift out of position. Selection tips include:
- Most pants come equipped with a belt to secure the pants firmly at the waist.
- Determine the appropriate length of the pant based on the knee. For proper protection, the pants should be long enough to cover the knee when you bend.
- Above the waist, the pants should extend to the lower rib cage and the bottom of the shoulder pads.
- Look for pants that offer front and backside padding.
Question: Does my son really need suspenders?
Answer: Standard hockey equipment can be a mystery to many parents, and add-ons such as suspenders even more so. Why do some players have them and some don’t? Can you put suspenders on any hockey pants, or do you need special ones? Basically, it’s a matter of preference. Some players like a looser fit in the waist, so they wear suspenders to keep the pants up. (If you like suspenders, be sure pants have the attachment for them inside.) For smaller players, however, who may not have a defined waist around which to tighten a belt, suspenders work great—plus suspenders keep Mite coaches from having to pull players aside to tighten their pants throughout practice.
Question: What if we find the perfect breezers but they’re the wrong color?
Answer: You can actually buy a “pants shell” to cover breezers, whether you need to match team colors for hand-me-downs or used hockey pants, hide wear and tear, or (heaven forbid) cover blood stains. Zippers and/or Velcro keep the shell in place. So the next time hand-me-downs come your way or you find an awesome pair at a great price, you can take color out of the equation.