Canucks ban video games, 'Fortnite' from NHL road trips
It’s a video game that’s exploded in popularity with millions of daily users, but the Vancouver Canucks have taken a step to prevent their players from playing "Fortnite."
In speaking with TSN 1040, Vancouver Canucks star forward and alternate captain Bo Horvat said the team has banned the popular video game -- and video games in general -- from their road trips.
“('Fortnite’s') definitely a no-go on the road,” Horvat said in the interview. “No more 'Fortnite,' no more bringing your video games or anything like that. It’s strictly team meals, team dinners and hanging out with the guys.”
“There’s a lot of cool cities we visit and to be cooped up in your room, not doing anything and playing 'Fortnite,' I think it is a waste of your time.”
The Canucks organization says the ban is player-imposed and is meant “to encourage being a social, close-knit group on the road.”
Sven Butenschon, head coach of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s hockey team, agreed with the Canucks players that road trips are an oppourtunity to forge relationships with teammates, not play video games.
“On the road, it’s a great time to bond with the guys and have conversations and get to know each other,” Butenschon told CTV Vancouver.
"Fortnite" is a popular video game that, along with "PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds," kicked off the “battle royale” craze. These types of games typically involve 100 players fighting it out until one is left standing.
"Fortnite" has exploded in popularity this year, in part because the game is free to play. It boasted nearly 80 million active players in August alone.
As "Fortnite" has grown, the sporting world has taken notice. The young stars of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for one, have indicated their fascination with the game several times.
“Off days I don’t really leave my apartment too much, just because you just want to relax, so I’ve been trying to get better every day in 'Fortnite,'” Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews told reporters in February. “It’s absolutely sweeping the nation. Everybody’s playing it.”
Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine, an avid "Fortnite" gamer himself, joked with reporters on Wednesday that if the Jets ever started playing as poorly as the Canucks last season, they would consider a similar ban.
With more players spending their free time playing the game, organizations appear to be concerned. TSN Correspondent Rick Westhead said in August that OHL players have been told to scrub all references to "Fortnite" from their social media, as some NHL teams view it as a distraction.
An OHL team employee tells me some players have been advised to scrub Fortnite references from social media accounts.— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) August 28, 2018
Some NHL teams consider the video game a major distraction/obsession.
The game is even said to cause injuries. Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price missed some time earlier this season with a mild bout of carpal tunnel syndrome rumoured to stem from his affiliation with "Fortnite."
According to research from U.K. marriage blog DivorceOnline, 200 couples in the U.K. have cited "Fortnite" as part of reason behind their divorce.
While some organizations worry about the impact of video games on their players, others embrace it as a way of staving off the other distractions that come with being a professional athlete, such as partying and gambling.
Last summer, the Washington Capitals huddled up in their hotel rooms playing "Mario Kart" while on the road during the Stanley Cup final, presumably in part to avoid the distractions that Las Vegas has to offer.
In August, the Carolina Hurricanes even visited the headquarters of Epic Games, the makers of "Fortnite," for a team-building exercise.
With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press