Protect your assets
A good pair of hockey pants should be designed to protect your spine, tailbone, kidneys, thighs and hips. Most hockey pants are made primarily of nylon, with foam and polyurethane padding inserted inside of them. Hockey pants should be worn so they come down to the top of your hockey shin pads to give you maximum protection and it's a good idea to try them on with your shin pads if possible to make sure they are the right size for you. They should also fit high enough above your waist to protect you from crosschecks along the lower back. Women's hockey pants are slightly different from men's as they are designed to fit properly on a woman's body shape.
Some hockey pants come with zippers on the inside leg to allow you to take them on and off easier. Some players also open the zippers part way to allow for more mobility while playing. Most pants also come with an adjustable belt to let you tighten or loosen them and some models come with attachments which allow you to wear suspenders with them. The suspenders are made to hold up your pants and allow you to wear your belt a bit looser. Your hockey pants should provide you with maximum protection, but they should also enable you to move about freely on the ice.
There are basically two different styles of hockey pants which are the European and North American styles. European style pants generally have a little less padding in them seem to be a little longer than North American hockey pants. Tackla and Graf are two of the European style manufacturers. The style of pants you prefer is really a personal choice. Many speedy and shifty players like to wear the European models as they seem to offer a little more flexibility and freedom of movement while most hard hitting, physical players prefer the extra padding of the north American pants.
Make sure that your hockey pants fit you properly as they won't provide you with the full protection you need if they are worn too low down you legs. They need to be worn properly to protect the areas above your waist. A bad-fitting pair of pants may also hinder your skating ability.
Hockey pants come in various sizes and colors and range in price from about $35 for junior models to over $100 for senior models while a pair of suspenders will cost you about $15. Most of the major hockey equipment manufacturers such as CCM, Bauer hockey equipment, Easton hockey equipment, Nike, Reebok, and Itech make hockey pants and companies such as Tackla specialize in them.