One of the most important development tools for any young player is to have a hockey stick that suits him/her. A long stick (at or above the chin on skates) can be detrimental to a child's development. A stick of proper length should lie with the blade flat on the ice when standing on skates, while holding the knob in the palm of the hand. (For most, this is a stick cut shoulder height on skates) A stick of proper length will enable players to handle the puck close to their body, make back hand passes, develop more power in their shot and help them control the puck when moving laterally.
More importantly, proper stick length is required to develop proper skating mechanics. Players with sticks too long for them, straighten up to compensate and do not acquire the deep knee bend vital to improving stride length and frequency. Forward skating requires players to have a 45 degree upper body lean and obviously a long stick impedes this as well.
Proper stick length is important for forwards and defence men alike. Some players can adjust to a longer stick but the majority of good players cut their sticks right. For proof, take a look at the stick lengths of Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Gordie Howe, Vincent Lecavilier, Alex Kovalev, Andrei Markov, Al MacInnis, Mike Bossy, Tomas Kaberle and Mats Sundin to name a few.