Marek and Friedman were chatting about their own kids and the inevitable introduction of video games, when Marek shared this tidbit:
“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.”
“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.’ “
Over the last few years the NHL has evolved. The glory days of pounding beers the night after a game are over and have been replaced with protein shakes and supplements. The league is now filled with 18-20 year olds that can make an NHL team and immediately make an impact. We’ve all heard of stories of guys not being able to stick in the show due to alcohol and drugs but this is the first time I’ve heard of someone not being able to handle it because of video games. Yeah, you did not misread this, I said video games. I think we’ve all been in a situation where we go on binges whether its a Netflix show or Fortnite, but for most people they’re able to shut it off.
When I first read this, I couldn’t believe it. I immediately thought, “This kid is an asshole.” But after I had a few seconds to gather my thoughts, I immediately felt bad. Think about how much time and effort these kids put in to make sure they can live their dream. I almost throw up just watching them at the combine doing that bike exercise and I’m not even doing it. Yeah, they have skill, but the work you have to put in to get yourself there is so incredibly hard. The fact that this kid can’t put down a PS4 or Xbox controller is one of the wildest things I’ve ever heard. We’ve all wished to play in the show and this kid still has a chance. I hope he can figure it out because it’s not the best look to miss out on millions of dollars and living the god damn dream because of a fucking video game.
No one wants to be that guy.