There is a new masked man in Los Angeles, and his name is Jhonas Enroth
He’s pleasant, approachable, down-to-earth, and will admit there isn’t anything too special about him. But hockey fans in Los Angeles are hoping that last part isn’t true.
After the departure of former backup goaltender, Martin Jones, during the off-season, the LA Kings signed Enroth to a one-year contract to assume the backup role behind starter Jonathan Quick.
Drafted in 2006 by the Buffalo Sabres, Enroth spent most of his NHL career in Buffalo before being traded to the Dallas stars last season. He was the first goaltender in NHL history to record his first three wins via shootouts, which he achieved during the 2010-2011 campaign.
Growing up in Sweden, Enroth idolized NHL goaltenders Patrick Roy, and fellow Swede, Tommy Salo.
“It wasn’t as easy as today to watch NHL, but we got a TV show once a week, that would show highlights from NHL,” says Enroth, who says he originally became interested in playing goalie because he liked the equipment.
The improvement in digital technology nowadays also allows him to better keep in touch with his family back home. Both of Enroth’s brothers – he is the middle child – come to visit him once a year, while his parents make it over the pond twice a season, and just so happened to be in attendance for Enroth’s first NHL shutout in 2011 when he stopped 23 shots against the New York Rangers.
“I remember when I came over the first year, you Skyped home maybe once or twice a week, but it’s definitely way easier now to stay connected to your friends and family back home,” says Enroth, who uses FaceTime to talk to everyone regularly.
With his new start in Southern California, Enroth is hoping to have plenty of good things to report home about.
“I played well in all (three) games I played here, so I had a good feeling about LA,” says Enroth, who had the opportunity to play with Kings teammates Brayden McNabb, Christian Ehrhoff, and Jamie McBain back in Buffalo.
Aside from his visiting team playing appearances, Enroth has no prior experience in the City of Angels, and only arrived just before the start of training camp. The first thing he wanted to try upon his arrival was, interestingly enough, the caffeinated beverage chain, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
“That’s a California thing, so that’s pretty much the first thing I did when I came to LA, I wanted to try out that spot,” says the 27-year-old who had become accustomed to Starbucks.
Luckily for Enroth there’s a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf location just around the corner from his new Manhattan Beach residence, where he lives with his two dogs, a Wheaten Terrier named Teddy, and a Poodle-mix named Prince.
Aside from his new favorite coffee shop, Enroth has already visited Disneyland, so check two off the list. He’s planning on doing a little tourist sightseeing in Hollywood, and he wants to go hiking on the mountain trails, which, he should be happy to find, there are plenty of in this city. He is also looking forward to receiving his bikes, which are being shipped from Sweden.
“My big hobby is cycling, and it’s something I do pretty much every day,” says Enroth, who will trade the Swedish country roads for the LA beaches. “I’m pretty excited to get (my bikes) here so I can go for bike rides in LA. I’m sure I’ll find some cool routes here.”
If he’s not biking, Enroth may be found watching ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ or ‘Friends’ reruns, or his new interest, ‘Narcos.’ He enjoys country and pop music, or ‘whatever’s on the radio,’ but Drake is likely what is on his iPod at the moment.
Although his favorite food is Mexican, you’ll find him eating chicken, pasta, rice, and salad before a game, which, in addition to his pre-game nap, is probably the only part of his pre-game ritual that he’s likely to keep constant.
“I think it’s important to try to cut down as many pre-game rituals as you can, and just try to stay relaxed and loose,” Enroth says.
This mantra seems to be working for him, as he’s been playing hockey since the age of seven. He started the sport to be just like his older brother, and the two played on a couple different teams together.
Two decades later, Enroth finds himself on a team that won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, but failed to make the playoffs last season, and is determined to right the ship this year. His assessment of his new environment so far is simple.
“I think it’s a very tight group. Obviously they’ve been through ups and downs here the last couple of years and I think they came out pretty strong from everything that happened,” Enroth says.
“I’m excited to be here.”
This is the second story in a new LAKings.com series introducing Kings fans to our new players. Read – Meet Milan