Viral “Hockey Butt” Ad Creators Say They “Accidentally” Targeted Gay Men—Um, Excuse Me?

"If these players become mainstream in the gay community as a result, good for them," says out hockey player Brock McGillis.

You know the video. You’ve watched and rewatched the video. Hell, you might have even bookmarked the video. I speak, of course, about the now-viral “hockey butt” advertisement from State & Liberty, featuring Detroit Wings player and fantastic ass possessor Dylan Larkin.

The ad, in case you haven’t seen it, opens with Larkin introducing himself as a “victim of hockey butt.” You see, his ass and quads are so big and his waist is so small that he can’t fit into regular dress pants. Thankfully for him and curvy hockey players around the globe, State & Liberty has parted the clouds (and my thighs), creating pants for this very purpose.

To show its effectiveness, we’re presented with a gratuitous close-up of Larkin’s ass and groin as he talks about the lack of stretchy formalwear or something. At this point, nobody’s really listening. He does, however, say “bust at the seams” in his testimony and, honey, same!

The video harkens to the age of Baywatch, where, instead of watching Pamela Anderson bounce around on the shoreline, we’re able to witness a professional hockey player squatting in tight, form-fitting dress pants.

“Our objective was to get our main message across: Our clothes are made for athletes with the purpose of being super comfortable and stretchy, while also looking professional,” Madi Lewis, CMO at State & Liberty, tells NewNowNext. “Then we added a little humor in there!”

Since the ad debuted, the response has been overwhelming. “We’ve definitely seen a spike in our pants sales,” Lewis shares. “It’s a niche market, but there is definitely a group of men out there that have this need and we plan to reach every single one of them.”

Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
Dylan Larkin.

The Michigan-based company was founded by Lee Moffie and Steve Fisher while attending the University of Michigan. Moffie was on the school’s hockey team and was drafted by the San Jose Sharks in 2010. The two initially launched their company to sell dress shirts that fit muscular bodies, but quickly grew to sell “dress clothes made for athletes” from a blend of polyester and spandex.

“This is the type of stuff you really can’t predict,” Moffie says about the video, adding that he feels a little bit guilty about the attention his friend Larken has received since. “He’s been a really great sport about it.”

As for the ad’s homosexual appeal, Lewis attests it was not intentional. “Obviously we wanted to target athletes and hockey players, but accidentally targeted the gay community, as well, and they have all been amazing in their support of the commercial and even starting to try out our brand now, too, which is so great to see,” she says.

Some gay folks, however, aren’t convinced. Their verdict? The ad is guilty of queer-baiting. I published a poll on Twitter to inquire further about the ad’s intent and 65% believe the ad was designed to exploit gay people. But the openly gay, former OHL hockey player Brock McGillis, who dedicates much of his time fighting homophobia in the sport, doesn’t seem as hard-pressed.

“I think that’s too much, [the ad] could have been geared to women,” McGillis shares with NewNowNext. “They reached a new demo and if these players become mainstream in the gay community as a result, good for them. As long as they’re not homophobes then right on. I think it’s cool, I really do.”

Still, the proof is in the pudding, as they say, and there is no denying that hockey players were sexualized. “[The ad] definitely [sexualized hockey players] a little bit, and by a little bit I mean a lot,” McGillis admits, though he believes it was all done for a laugh. “I can appreciate that because typically there is no personality in the sport, and look at the reaction! Dylan Larkin, who is not a household name in Canada is the talk of—at the very least—gay men, and I would assume more than that.”

A hockey player’s plight in finding trousers to fit their sumptuous derrieres is well-documented. “It’s still a struggle,” McGillis says, telling me that when he played hockey professionally his thighs measured 29 inches. “I typically buy pants that are too big for my waist. Maybe two sizes too big.” Penguins forward Aston-Reese does the same, telling ESPN earlier this year that he is technically a 34 waist, but buys a size 36 just to fit his ass.

“Can it be hard for me to find pants? Yes, always,” Edmonton Oilers captain, Connor McDavid, told the pub. “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.” New York Islanders winger Anders Lee experiences similar problems. “I’ll try on, like, 40 pairs of pants or jeans and walk away with one or none,” he told ESPN. “And anything that says ’skinny’? I’m not getting into that.”

Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images
Connor Murphy.

Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy recounts a shopping trip when he tried on 10 pairs of jeans, none of which fit. “I got so mad, I hate shopping,” he says. “But the saleswoman was really helpful and spent a lot of time with me, so I literally bought a pair because I felt bad for her—even though they didn’t fit and I knew I was going to return them later. I just had guilt.”

According to McGillis, hockey players boast stupendous posteriors because they’re typically in a squatted position while playing, thereby producing not only a large, powerful butt but thighs, as well.

We feel your struggle, and want to offer our support, handsome hockey players. Provided, of course, that you’re willing to show us respect—and more gratuitous content. A piece of advice? Try OnlyFans.

Bobby Box is a freelance journalist and editor whose work on sex, relationships, culture, and sexuality has been published in the Daily Beast, Playboy, Them., Into, Women’s Health, Complex, PopSugar, among others.