NHL teams reportedly consider video game 'Fortnite' a major distraction for players

The ol' "video games make your brain mush" seems like a pretty outdated viewpoint, but some NHL teams are apparently worried about the popular video game "Fortnite" becoming too much of a distraction for players.

According to hockey writer Rick Westhead, some junior hockey players have been advised to scrub their social media accounts of "Fortnite" references because some NHL clubs view the game as detrimental to players' focus. The game is apparently viewed as a "major distraction/obsession" by some teams.

This report comes a few months after Jeff Marek of Sportsnet reported that a top draft pick from a "very, very prominent NHL team" was ruining his shot at an NHL career due to a serious video game addiction.

"On video games – and I'm not gonna say the player's name. I really doubt he's going to make it to the NHL, and it's because of a video game addiction," Marek said on his 31 Thoughts podcast with Elliotte Friedman. "To the point where his general manager told me -- 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. Like, he'll be a write-off. And it is that bad. He has ... this compulsion for playing video games till all hours. I swore upon ... that I wouldn't say the player's name, but it's unfortunate.

"I mean, 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."

It's also not the first time that "Fortnite", which is arguably the most popular video game on the planet right now, has come up as a possible negative thing for athletes this year -- even a major pro athlete.

Earlier this year, Red Sox pitcher David Price was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in May, costing him a scheduled start on the mound. It was reported that his many hours logged on "Fortnite" may have led to the diagnosis. Though it was never confirmed that the game is actually what caused the issue, Price did say he'd stop playing it at the ballpark because the diagnosis became a "distraction." 

However, gaming certainly isn't a new hobby or trend among athletes, including hockey players. Many current NHL players are upfront with their love of "Fortnite" and it doesn't seem to be hurting them too much. 

Patrik Laine, who is an avid "Fortnite" gamer, finished last season with 44 goals -- the second-most in the league. His trips to Tilted Towers don't seem to be stripping away at his ability on the ice. 

In any case, it's wise for NHL clubs to perform due diligence on how players spend their free time away from the ice, but potential prospects being forced to scrub any mention of a video game from their social media accounts seems a little excessive.

Pete Blackburn is from Boston, so there's a good chance you don't like him already. He has been a writer at CBS Sports since 2017 and usually aims to take a humorous and light-hearted approach to the often... Full Bio

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