- Almost all teams have asked how much play I play. That is the problem.
This is what Anton Lundell, the hottest Finnish name for the upcoming NHL booking event, said recently in an interview with Ilta-Sanomat.
Lundell, 18, in his own words, does not belong to the so-called risk group, but excessive video gaming has become a genuine concern in the eyes of NHL clubs.
That’s why NHL clubs have incorporated video game consumption habits as part of an extensive set of questions that clubs use to find out about a young player’s personality, character, and world of thought.
- It is part of the normal interview process today. Clubs want to know what a player likes to do outside of hockey. If it’s playing video games, then ask more, an NHL club player observer told Ilta-Sanomat.
- Different generations have different habits. Before game trips, players groaned in the tavern. Now players sit in a hotel room for hours playing video games. Times are changing, another club's player observer smiled.
There is nothing wrong with relaxing with video games in the eyes of NHL clubs as long as gaming stays within reason.
- There are advantages to playing, but if it starts to affect your night's sleep and the player sits in the tube for 12 hours, it doesn't make much sense, said one player observer.
- On the other hand, can an outsider really monitor how much someone is playing or what they are doing in addition to hockey? The right kind of filters should always be on in these interviews. That’s why some clubs use professional people for interviews, and some do them with people in their own house. Sometimes interviews are helpful, sometimes not. I rely more on what the people around the player are talking about him.
A couple of years ago in North America, a case came to light where it was claimed that for an NHL first-round booking, video game addiction was such that even his NHL career would be at stake.
- For a few years, more attention has been paid to video gaming from the direction of clubs, because they are talked about a lot and hear all kinds of stuff. The circles are small, so the stuff also spreads suddenly, said one long-line player observer.
- You always hear about players who beat the player until four in the morning, also during the season, which is inevitably reflected in playing and training. Nutrition and rest are a vital part of life management. If that rock foot is bad, it’s hard to imagine being able to develop into a real top player, said another club’s player observer.
A young player can also stand out in the eyes of NHL clubs with his out-of-pitch actions and attitude.
- I remember when I was in contact with Sebastian Aho before they won the championship in the spring of 2015. I flew to Oulu and put him a message from eight in the evening. He did not reply to the message until eight in the morning. I don’t know for sure, but he had apparently put the phone on or off to be able to prepare for dreams, the player observer recalled.
- It became a strong feeling that it is a pro-level young player who is doing his best to become a top player. When you look at Aho today, you don’t have to guess at all why he’s at the top of the NHL.
Sebastian Aho has become the number one star in Carolina Hurricanes.
Photo: Kim Klement / USA Today Sports
Avoiding problem situations can be contributed to through the prevailing booking philosophy in the company.
- It is largely an organizational issue. What kind of players you want to reserve and what is the tolerance for players. Are you ready to look at certain stuff through your fingers or are you not booked at all. Booking young, developing players is a bit like a line drawn in the water, one player observer pointed out.