One of the dumbest controversies to hit the NHL, probably ever, is apparently not going away anytime soon.
Reports and rumours alike have surfaced over the past few months implying that coaches and management across the hockey world have started worrying about the video game habits of their players — in both professional and junior circles.
One ultra popular title in particular, Fortnite, has drawn the ire of many. Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto said earlier in the preseason that the team was considering banning the game on road trips, and centre Bo Horvat confirmed on Tuesday that the organization has in fact banned all video games on team trips.
Speaking to TSN 1040 Vancouver, Horvat explained why egregious, dangerous activities like fictional video games are being pushed aside on Canucks’ roadies.
“Yeah, that’s definitely a no-go on the road. No more Fortnite. No more bringing your video games on the road. It’s strictly team meals, team dinners, and hanging out with the guys. So we’ll have to put an end to that.”
“There’s better ways to spend time on the road, whether it’s hanging out with the guys in the room, going to a movie with the guys, doing stuff outside your room. There’s a lot of cool cities we go to visit and to be cooped up in your room all night and not doing anything, playing Fortnite, is a waste of your time.”
This whole weird situation or movement (or whatever it is) began gaining public momentum last spring when Sportsnet host Jeff Marek said on the 31 Thoughts Podcast that a “recent first-round draft pick for a very, very prominent NHL team” was derailing his career with a video game addiction. The story hasn’t been confirmed and the player hasn’t yet been identified.
“I really doubt (unnamed player) is going to make it to the NHL, and it’s because of a video game addiction, to the point where his junior general manager told me that they’ve had him go to counselling over it, because he’ll play until all hours of the night and into the morning and then he’ll have no energy the next day,” Marek said.
The topic arose again in August, when an employee of an Ontario Hockey League squad told Rick Westhead of TSN that even associating yourself with the game could have dire consequences down the road.
An OHL team employee tells me some players have been advised to scrub Fortnite references from social media accounts.
Some NHL teams consider the video game a major distraction/obsession.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) August 28, 2018
Thinking back a few years to when I was playing a somewhat respectable level of puck, a few things ring true. Yes, we did a large chunk of our bonding through team meals and other nefarious activities that I probably shouldn’t mention here, but we also got to know each other really well through countless days and nights of multiplayer vids.
Can games like Fortnite be addicting? Absolutely. But there’s a lot worse things to be doing on the road, to be sure. There should be room for both types of team-building activities in a young athlete’s life — everything in moderation except moderation, as they say.
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