Andres Lee (left) and Max Domi
Mike Stobe/NHLI/Getty; Francois Lacasse/NHLI/Getty
January 11, 2019 03:03 PM

We’ve all been there — the search for the perfect-fitting pair of jeans.

In a new ESPN report by Emily Kaplan, several hockey players lamented their struggle to find denim that fits their body proportions — a physique that typically includes a larger lower half from intense training.

“It’s an absolute nightmare between the quads and the glutes,” Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi told ESPN. “The glutes especially because it just throws off your waist.”

Echoed Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, “I’ve never really talked about it, but it’s definitely a thing a lot of guys go through.”

In fact, New York Islanders winger Anders Lee recounted going to the mall with his wife to ESPN, admitting that he’s often tried on 40 pairs of pants only to walk away with one, or even none.

“Oh, and anything that says ‘skinny’? Trust me, I’m not getting into that,” Lee told the outlet.

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In the report, Domenico Vacca — a personal tailor for upwards of 250 NHL players, according to ESPN — described the fashion nightmare as a new phenomenon. Vacca told the outlet that the problem areas when he first started tailoring hockey athletes used to be the upper body, but in the past six or seven years he’s noticed a switch to the lower half.

ESPN speculated that this could be the result of new training techniques in hockey, which ultimately lead to changes in players’ figures.

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Connor McDavid, captain of the Edmonton Oilers, is proud of the athletic prowess his intense training has lead to — but lamented that it came at the price of not fitting into most pants.

“Can it be hard for me to find pants? Yes, always,” McDavid told ESPN. “The waist, you need to get around your thighs and butt, but that doesn’t always match how tall you are. I definitely have a hard time finding jeans that fit.”

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Some hockey players look to tailors like Vacca for their pants, while others continue to experiment with different brands until they find one that works for them.

“I have smaller calves, too, for some reason,” Claude Giroux, captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, told ESPN. “Zara, their suits fit me perfectly for some reason, so I’m there often. That’s the one place I can shop.”

If tailors or mainstream brands both fail, some turn to niche brands like GongShow, a Canadian business that has made it their mission to make “hockey jeans” — or pants that will fit athletes by providing more room around the thighs and butt — with a mix of spandex in the material.

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