Mitch Albom did a two-hour sit-down interview with recently-retired future Hall-of-Famer Nick Lidstrom, and it’s well worth your time.
Of all the comments the Red Wings ex-captain made, I found the one on how technology has changed locker room culture most interesting. That culture, for hockey teams, extends beyond the room and onto buses and into hotel rooms and more.
Q: Has the locker-room atmosphere changed with technology?
Q: When you broke in, in 1991, there were no iPads or cell phones.
A: You had the odd guy reading the actual newspaper — holding it and reading it. But now you got Twitter, Facebook … guys are on nonstop. Before, there was a lot more talking going on.
Q: Did you like it better back then?
A: There was more interaction … especially on the plane. Now everybody is sitting with their headphones on. They’re watching a movie or on their computer. It’s totally different.
So much for card games and telling stories.
I stopped playing during the 2008-2009 season and didn’t see much of that, but change was coming quickly. Technology has made some sizable strides over the past four years in the way of ADD-inducing devices that make the need for social interaction virtually nil.
I didn’t have a Twitter account or an iPad, and I used a flip phone with a screen roughly the size of an app on my current phone. Guys still did the crossword in real papers, and while headphones were a common thing on the bus and the plane, it certainly wasn’t every single person that was lost in their solo technology.
If I had to guess, I’d bet teams won’t allow electronic devices in the room for long. It’s not only important for a team to be social, but I think it was the best part of being a hockey player, and it sounds like a lot of current players are willingly missing that experience.