Balancing time between work and video games is a struggle, no matter who does it—even, apparently, for professional hockey players in the NHL. According to Bo Horvat, a 23-year-old center playing with the Vancouver Canucks, players have decided amongst themselves to ban video games for the upcoming 2019 NHL season, which starts tonight.
"I know he likes Fortnite, so we're going to have to get him off that," Horvat said jokingly of 19-year-old Elias Pettersson, a promising new Swedish rookie signed to the Canucks. The comment came as a joke during an interview with the TSN 1040 sports radio show in Vancouver, but Horvat then confirmed that in all seriousness video games are strictly not allowed during team travel. "Yeah, that's definitely a no-go on the road. No more Fortnite, no more bringing your video games on the road or anything...We'll have to put an end to that."
Instead, the team hopes that players will focus on bonding with teammates and getting ready for the night's game. Weirdly, Horvat says that players should be bonding over a movie or a beer, but bonding over video games is singled out as being counterproductive. "You talk about Fortnite, but there's other things that guys might do to relieve the stress," one of the TSN hosts replied, pushing back on Horvat. "Does that mean you don't go to a movie by yourself or go to a casino... whatever the case may be?"
"In my opinion, there's better ways to spend your time on the road," Horvat said. "Whether it's hanging out with the guys in the room or going to a movie with the guys… To be cooped up in your room all night not doing anything, playing Fortnite, I think, is a waste of your time." So hanging out in your room with your teammates is good, but hanging out in your room with your teammates playing Fortnite is… not good.
The Canucks were one of the league's worst teams last year, and as the 2018-19 NHL season kicks off tonight, many experts have them finishing near the bottom. The team lost twin legends Daniel and Henrik Sedin over the off-season after 18 years with the club. As one of the youngest teams in the NHL at an average age of 26, the Canucks would be eager to avoid distractions as they try to improve without the help of these veterans.
It wouldn't be hockey night in Canada without some friendly sniping, so it wasn't long before a follow-up comment landed. Patrik Laine, a star forward with the Winnipeg Jets, quipped to reporters, "they need something to blame after last year." Unlike the Canucks, the Jets had a great season last year, advancing to the conference finals before being eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights. According to Scott Billeck, a reporter who covers the Jets, Laine went on to say that the Jets players agreed amongst themselves that if they ever start playing as badly as Vancouver did last year, the Jets will go ahead and leave their video games at home, too.