Saskatoon

No-cellphone policy aims to improve Saskatoon Blades' performance

Saskatoon Blades players have been banned from using cellphones at the rink under a new policy aimed at improving the team's performance.

Players to hand over cellphones to coach's office under new policy

Cellphones will be off limits to Saskatoon Blades players at games and practices under a new team policy aimed at improving player performance. (Peter Mills/CBC)

A new team policy bans Saskatoon Blades players from using their cellphones at the rink.

This new policy is aimed at improving the team's performance. Players now have to hand over their cellphones at the coach's office upon arriving at the rink before games or practices. 

Head coach Dean Brockman said the team introduced the new policy because it felt cellphone distractions were impacting the players' performance on the ice. 

New policy is a trial

He said the team was testing the policy on a temporary basis to see if it should continue long-term.  

"When there's distraction and you're not mentally focused towards one thing, we just thought it was a course of action that we'd try for a short-term period and see if it helped our play or helped our focus on the ice and in the dressing room,"  said Brockman. 

The head coach said having cellphones nearby could sometimes cause players to lose focus because of the tendency to check and reply to messages. 

Players had previously been asked to put their cellphones into a bag about an hour and a half before their games, Brockman said. 

Player reaction

Brockman said the change was not prompted by a particular incident. 

He said the players had responded well to the change, although there was some disappointment. 

"At first there you could see that maybe some of the faces were a little bit longer," said Brockman. "But we haven't had any issues with it or anybody argue that it's not a good thing."  

He was not sure if other teams had implemented the same or similar policies. 

The Blades' next game is against the Red Deer Rebels in Alberta on Nov. 30. 

About the Author

Alicia Bridges is a digital and broadcast journalist at CBC Saskatoon. Email her at alicia.bridges@cbc.ca.