When choosing a hockey stick, there are many different properties that depend on personal preference; some examples are the type of curve, lie, flex and length.
While there are no standard rules for selecting a curve (as long as it’s not illegal) (..sorry I had to), the rule of thumb for selecting a stick length is between the nose and chin.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tobias Enstrom does not subscribe to any rules regarding stick length. From watching him play, it is easy to notice the Swedish defenseman uses an unusually long stick. Listed at 5’10” Enstrom uses a stick that extends past his eyes.
Enstrom began using a longer stick at age 16 after his father suggested that he try it out, he was instantly comfortable with the long twig and added a few inches each year until it reached its current length.
Most minor hockey coaches would discourage the use of such a long stick, but for Enstrom, it’s all about personal preference. Having a long stick can be effective in the defensive zone when poke checking or blocking off passing lanes. After four seasons in the NHL, Enstrom says that his long stick catches opponents by surprise.
Offensively, the long stick allows for additional leverage on the shaft for slap shots and one timers, letting the stick flex and do the work. Enstrom scored his first goal of the season ripping a slap shot through a large crowd in front of the opposing net.
At the minor hockey level, coaches may discourage young players from choosing a long stick because of the difficulty when receiving passes close to the body. From watching Toby Enstrom, it is evident that he can play the stick like a trumpet, moving his hands down the shaft when pucks come close to his feet. He isn’t sure when he picked it up, but it is something he does to receive passes more easily and gain better control of the puck.
Enstrom has been a workhorse this year for the Jets, playing in all situations; powerplay, penalty kill, and even strength. He leads the team in average icetime per game (26:09), and leads defenseman in points (4). For the Jets to have success going forward, part of the load will rest on Tobias Enstrom and his effectively large stick.
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