Kids nowadays are fascinated by video games. I personally have three stepsons and the second they enter the house after school they rush over to their console and start a new game. They stay glued to the screen until dinner is on the table, and it's a big deal to prevent them from going back because - after all - there are homework, chores and family time on the agenda. They are still young enough that we can have a say on how much time they spend playing video games, but according to co-host Jeff Marek of Sportsnet's 31 Thoughts podcast, one coach wishes he had the same power over one player.
Marek told NHL insider Elliotte Friedman and podcast listeners about one recent first-round pick that cannot stop playing video games, which is now ruining his NHL career with a prominent team. Here is the conversation, as reported by Chris Nichols of FRS Network Hockey:
“On video games – and I’m not going to say the player’s name,” began Marek. “I really doubt he’s 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 counseling 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. He’ll be a write-off. And it is that bad. He has this compulsion for playing video games until all hours.
“I swore that I wouldn’t say the player’s name. But it’s unfortunate. He’s a recent first-round draft pick for a very, very prominent NHL team – will probably never play in the NHL because of a video game addiction.”
Friedman believes teams and management need to get involved at some point, when too much is enough.
“One thing I do know,” Friedman noted, “Is I know there are teams who will say, ‘After a certain point in the season, we don’t want those things on the road,’ and stuff like that. It’s sort of like MLB teams and golf clubs. Was there a point in the season where you told your players, ‘Okay, no more golf clubs on the road.’ And I do know of teams that have done that.
“But an addiction being the reason they haven’t made the NHL? Boy, that’ll be a heck of a story when somebody tries to do it.”
“And hopefully,” said Marek, "And again, this is information that’s six months old. Actually, you might say a year old now. But it’s a terrible story because this guy is a good junior hockey player. This guy is a good player and was a high pick – and I’m probably saying too much right there – but there’s a good chance he’s not going to make it to the NHL and his general manager said, ‘Yeah, video game addiction is bad. It’s bad with this kid.’"
Let's hope indeed that kid got the help he needed to get over the addiction and focus on a promising career...