“Fortnite” is hugely popular right now, but some professional hockey prospects are reportedly being told to keep their passion for the battle royale game to themselves.
“An [Ontario Hockey League] team employee tells me some players have been advised to scrub ‘Fortnite’ references from social media accounts,” The Sports Network correspondent Rick Westhead tweeted on Tuesday. “Some NHL teams consider the video game a major distraction/obsession.”
Hockey reporter Renaud Lavoie recently told Sportsnet 590 that he ran into an unnamed NHL general manager who also brought up the game.
“That GM told me it’s an issue,” Lavoie said. “Before, the athletes were going to bars. Now, they’re staying in hotel rooms or at home and playing video games for hours.”
While erasing all mentions of “Fortnite” from social media sounds unreasonable, hockey players might have cause for some concern. Back in May, analyst Jeff Marek told the 31 Thoughts podcast that a first-round NHL draft pick was ruining his career prospects because of a video game habit, according to Deadspin.
“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. Like, he’ll be a write-off. And it is that bad,” Marek said during the podcast.
“Fortnite” currently has over 125 million players, so it’s no surprise a large number of professional athletes are among those competing for a victory royale. NBA star Gordon Hayward is a prolific gamer who’s streamed his “Fortnite” sessions (occasionally accompanied by his adorable daughter). Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster appeared in that infamous Ninja/Drake livestream. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes arranged a team-building field trip to Epic Games earlier this summer.