Last week's rumour that Vancouver Canucks prospect Olli Juolevi's career was being hampered by a video game addiction has since been debunked, and Canucks GM Jim Benning later defended the prospect.
“This is the first I’m hearing of it,” Benning told Ben Kuzma of The Vancouver Province. “And in talking to (Juolevi's head coach at TPS Turku) Sami Salo, he said Olli had put in the work in the gym and he had bought in that way.
“Olli is a serious guy and wants to do well.”
Speculation began when Rogers broadcaster Jeff Marek said on his '31 Thoughts' podcast two weeks ago that a recent first-round draft pick for a prominent NHL team will probably never play in the NHL because of a video game addiction, not naming the specific player.
Canadian Press contributor Dhiran Mahiban tweeted that Juolevi was the prospect, but retracted the report and apologized after Marek said it wasn't the Canucks draft pick.
Benning acknowledged video games are becoming a bigger part of players' downtime, but added he hasn't heard it becoming a problem. “On their down time, this is what our players do,” Benning told Kuzma. “We have players who carry the box and play on the road. I have kids who play and it’s getting bigger and there’s a circuit with arenas full of people who watch guys play video games.
“It’s getting bigger. And if a player is doing it all the time and has an addiction, it could be a problem. I’ve never heard that it has been a problem.”
Juolevi had seven goals and 12 assists in 38 games for TPS Turku of the Finnish league.