"Bauer Bumps." Yes, I have huge, gross feet, and yes, taking a picture of your heel is hard.

The sport of hockey shapes the landscape of a player’s body over time, and not necessarily for the better. In fact, it kinda makes us semi-mutants.

While your average rec player may not get the chance to look like Ryan Kesler or Zdeno Chara in ESPN the Magazine – lean, athletic, and cut – most of us do have a few other things in common. Let’s take a look, shall we?


Bauer Bumps (Shown above – the technical term is “Haglund’s Deformity,” also occasionally referred to as heel spurs. In the years since I’ve stopped playing, they’ve gone down considerably. I wear sandals every day and live in the desert. Please ignore the rest of my foot.)

It’s unfortunate for Bauer that they’ve become associated with heel spurs, but there does seem to be an alarming number of people who say they never had them until using Bauer skates. Then again, Bauer has a huge share of the hockey skate market, so it could just be guilt by association.

If you push off aggressively while skating and use a good amount of toe flexion (as the good skaters do – drive that toe into the ice), you’re essentially pushing your heel in to the back of your skate. Your skate responds by bouncing back and letting you skate like Michael Grabner.

This results in the wear-and-tear of your heels, as anyone who’s ever broken in a pair of skates has noticed. They’ve figured out the inner foot part of the break in pretty good – heels still get shredded.

Still, even long after your skates are broken in, that constant pressure is going to build a little callous back there. And build it, and build it, and build it. Mine were – as were my dad’s – patently ridiculous at one point in my career. You can cut them off, but I’m told they can grow back.

Wear them like a badge of honour, like a calling card. You’re a hockey player – you have Bauer Bumps. Congratulations.

Hockey Ass/Quads

If you play hockey with any consistency – as in, you’re a youth hockey player on the ice 3-4 times a week, or you’re a junior/college/pro guy on the ice 5-6 times a week, you know what I’m talking about. Hockey Ass, Hockey Quads.

The nature of the game requires a huge amount of push from your bodies biggest muscles. That means you ride the bike, you do squats, you do stops and starts, and if someone were to have some sort of imaging system that could show what muscles you’re using at any given time, those muscles would be blinking like Christmas lights in every phase of the game.

Thus, the boys at Gongshow Hockey have come out with a line of “Beauty Fit” hockey ass jeans, which I will be buying the second I hit post on this article. They’re obviously more loose in the quad and ass area, which is amazing.

Finding jeans is impossible for hockey players, especially if, like me, you have a taste for fancy jeans. Try to put on a pair of Sevens with hockey ass. Good luck with that.

And finally,


I’m always super-proud when someone says “You played hockey? But you’ve got all your teeth!”

Uh-ah-ahhh, not so fast. One is fake.

That fake tooth is another piece of body erosion gifted upon me by the great game, and I’m proud of that (though I can’t get my teeth whitened without replacing that crown, which sucks).

My Dad has a seven-tooth bridge, all right up front, top row. Four on the bottom are knock-offs too. Duncan Keith has more than that missing. Half the guys don’t even both to throw in their fake ones they’re so used to the look, and just plan to get them fixed after they’re done playing.

The game shapes our bodies – noses, knees, brains and beyond – more and more the more we play.

What am I missing? Any other standard looks the game inflicts on us?

Comments (39)

  1. F’d up knees :-) That’s another unfortunate hockey modification it seems. Particularly with us older players.

  2. Not a particularly creative one, but I would guess every player who has played a decent amount of hockey has a scar or two on their face, most notably the chin.

    • I have tons of chin scars that all came when wearing a cage – that thing gets jammed into you hard enough, pressure cut and stitches time.

      • Early helmets (pre-cages) were just glorified hats. Many rinks (especially outdoor) had chain link fence instead of glass. When you got rubbed out along the boards you tended to lose skin around the end of the eyebrows and ears or anywhere that stuck out a bit.

        • As an old goalie, when I was young I played in some rinks around Toronto that still had chicken-wire instead of glass. The rebounds you’d get off the wire were insane. Over time the wire would get ‘cupped’ from all the times it was hit by shots, so rebounds came off at all sorts of crazy angles.

      • I got a couple of those on the side of my face/jaw from hits that made my bucket turn sideways. Got a nice little scar on my chin from my very first game in a visor. Dman tries to lift my stick, comes up into my chin hard. It’s like my 6th biggest scar, but probably the worst just because of shaving.

  3. You don’t even have to play hockey with that much consistency: When I first started skating, I had a 30-minute class and one to two hourlong practices each week. I couldn’t believe the change in my rear end after just a few weeks. It makes perfect sense that a regular player has a noticeably different ass than other athletes… I wonder how well those Gongshow jeans would fit a woman?

    • I can vouch for this, with even less play time. One one-hour game of shinny every week will have a noticable effect. I didn’t notice it, but my wife did.

  4. I second hockey knees.

    When you stop, you compress the hell of your knee joint.

    If you ever did the drill I know as the ‘Gutbuster’* then your knees hurt like hell afterwards

    I can also attest to hockey ass too. I haven’t played in years now but I still have thighs that are freaking massive and gettings jeans that fit is a total pain.

    *Goal line, blue, goal, centre line, blue, opposite blue etc etc

    • Like the Shirley Temple and the Arnold Palmer before it, the simple Gutbuster or Ladder drill (punishment?) is now inseparable from the individual who made it famous.

      To the next generation of hockey players coming up now, it’s known simply as “Herbies” for the scene in Miracle.

      You gotta figure somewhere Herb Brooks is smiling at his legacy.

  5. Had to go to the dermatologist today for a mole on my back and a wart on my foot. She took a look at my feet and asked what I was doing to beat them up so much.

    And all I do is play rec hockey once a week.

  6. I think I am permanently bow-legged from skating. My toes point at 10 and 2.

  7. My neck kind of permanently clicks and groans these days. From what I’ve read, stretched tendons from all the times over the years I’ve almost had my noggin knocked off while skating with my head down. That may be mostly short players like me though, who seem more prone to getting hit in the head.

  8. Probably not hockey specific, but damaged wrists and shoulders from getting hit, hooked, and slashed. A lot of times I’ll strain my wrist as I’m trying to carry the puck through a hook on the stick. The whole body just kind of pops and creaks at this point.

  9. How do those Gongshow jeans fit relative to, say, non-designer relaxed-fit jeans like LL Bean or Levis?

    While others may prefer to call it “hockey ass” I shall always use the term “Quads of Glory” instead.

  10. It’s not just hockey players who lose teeth. My husband lost his two front teeth playing soccer – diving to score on a header just as the goalie attempted to kick the ball away. The goalie missed the ball. My husband has two permanent replacements.

  11. Shoulders – Well you may as well list all joints (besides elbows, I haven’t seen a lot of elbow injuries)

  12. I was just backpacking a couple weeks ago. A few days into the trip we were comparing blisters, and one guy asks, “wtf are those bumps on your heels”? Oh no biggie, just spurs from playing hockey…

    Not necessarily a physical deformity, but i’m curious how many guys have experienced and/or play through sports hernia. I’ve been playing for quite a while and i think i suffered one last year that i basically just played through and tried to rest a bit.

    Also, these jeans sound intriguing as i absolutely deal with this issue. With that said, and as sad as it is, j.crew and banana republic have alright fitting jeans for hockey ass. Mainly because they cater to fatter america than most of the premium brands.

    • Old navy has fat-ass american/hockey ass jeans, and they also have lengths to 36, which was the first thing I looked for in ones listed above. Of course, old navy jeans are all random sizes so you have to try on every pair regardless of how they are labeled.

  13. …How could anyone forget skate-cuts?

    I have a couple of beauties – The larger, on my left arm, that extends like a crescent from my inner arm (at about the elbow) to approximately 4 inches forward on my forearm, then sweeping back to within a couple of inches from my elbow (outer-forearm.)

    Friendly fire – Got stepped on by a team-mate trying to regain his balance in a goal-mouth scramble, while under a pile . As he fought to regain his balance, his skate blade repeatedly sawed through my forearm – Cutting tissue, tendon, muscle, and numerous blood-vessels; right down to the bone.

    70+ stitches, but (fortunately) no nerve-damage, and I retained full use of my left hand.

    I’m quite proud of it – Still looks absolutely grotesque even after over two decades.

  14. Elbows. My elbows are pointier than Madonna’s brassieres. Can’t really rest on my right elbow. Don Cherry went on about that on Coach’s Corner years ago. Maybe not so much of a problem now with super heavy duty elbow pads but with the thin foam kind they weren’t protected all that well. Split one elbow open, went to the dressing room to pour the blood out the elbow pad and then went back at it. Bad idea. Ended up with an infection and three days on IV antibiotics.

  15. What about broken noses? I have broken mine 5 times from pucks and sticks. Chicks say they love the broken nose because it adds character.

    • I was surprised this wasn’t on the list. Tons of hockey players have f-d up, crooked noses.

      • Yes! BUT you reach a limit! I don’t mind the nose thing but some of “my” players are getting to the “ok if you break your nose one more time it’s gonna be one too many” stage. When the nose looks like if you push on the tip the whole thing will go flat on your face it’s gone too far! (Like our beloved Rod Brind’Amour, bless his heart.)

        Hope all the players enjoy their Apple Bottom Jeans. Seriously. I can’t believe no one is calling these Beauty Fit jeans for “hockey ass” Apple Bottom Jeans for Dudes

  16. I’m missing eleven teeth. I’ve never played organized hockey.

  17. Wow, I never really thought about why my heels were bumpy. Anyone else get Bauer bumps on the outside of their feet near the middle? And I’ll never forget once being measured for a suit and the tailor pointing out my “hockey legs” in his words.

  18. Hip Flexors……. ladies.

  19. I have the best (worst) set of Bauer Bumps for a rec league player, bar none. Wish we could post pics…

  20. Bauer Bumps. Check
    Scars on the face. Check
    Missing teeth: (not yet) knock on wood.

    Gongshow jeans: Ordering soon.

  21. The Itech scar- Across the bridge of your nose from wearing a visor and it slamming down on your face when you fall, get punched, hit etc.

  22. Broken nose, permanently hurt groin, bad knees, and being bow legged. Doc says my knees are extra prone to injury from being bow-legged, which I would like to blame on hockey. Right leg is 23 degrees bowed and left leg is 26 degrees.

  23. Bumps on the inside of the big toe where it rubs against the toe cap of the skate. Quite painful even after buying wide skates, and having them punched. I’d be interested to know if anyone’s ever overcome this.

  24. Elbows! Played a lot of roller growing up out in parking lots with no elbow pads. Theses days I can never find an elbow pad that fits me, so there’s been a few times I got knocked down and my one elbow pad just slide sideways and my bone broke my fall

  25. Its an easy fix (if Id stop giving up the body) but Ive had bruises on both legs in that 2-3 inch area between the top of my shin gaurd and the padding of my pants where they can ride up from constantly going out to block shots at the point for about 3 months straight now. And I only play rec league 2 times a week.

  26. So I assume that everyone’s seen this, then.


  27. yep you gotta love hockey to put up with it all. ive played since i was six; came to canada in 74 from scotland as a kid with the family for the “better life”. 62 stitches on my face from hockey, 1 broken front tooth (just lucky on that one i guess), permanent nerve damage – no feeling in the right third of my bottom lip from an errant stick that cut right down to the jaw bone ( people were asking me if i’d suffered a stroke for about a month or two after that one until i adapted), 3 broken ribs, 1 separated shoulder, 1 fractured clavicle, nose broken 3 times, 6 broken bones in my feet. 1 fractured wrist, 6+ concussions that required “attention” (back in the day you just took a shift off), 1 fractured vertebrae from a cross-check from behind into the boards and the grand daddy getting knee’d at high speed resulting in a fractured femur, fractured fibula, gr 3 on the mcl, gr 2 on the acl, radial tear on each meniscus resulting in 5 months on a couch and 40,000 in savings spent. on the plus side i’m now the poster boy at alan mcgavin sports clinic at ubc for coming back without surgery. all this and will never give up hockey. surrounded by my grandkids or stroking out on the ice at 85; either way i’ll be content. :-)

  28. I can’t help but agree with you all. I’m 20 years old and have been playin AAA, AA, and some rec. hockey in Seattle since I was about 4. I have experienced the problem of the hockey knees, hockey butt(fitting into jeans), heel spurs from my classic silvers, and vapors, to running with flat feet that almost looks like I’m running slow motion. I stumbled upon this thread and had to laugh that so many people are going through what I do on a daily basis. Our sport engraved these features in us that no other sport could. For that, I wouldn’t trade my body’s freakish growths for anything in the world. Cause…IM A FUCKING HOCKEY PLAYER. A game for the few… A game above the rest… We’re a family

  29. Heel blisters in my goalie skates. I understood that when they were new, but I had a period of months with no trouble and suddenly they’re back with a vengeance, can barely walk on one leg and of course I have a game tonight…worried about losing traction in my heels but will likely try the duct tape method shown elsewhere…gotta do SOMETHING! LOL!

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