After 15 seasons as the Blackhawks’ color analyst on NBC Chicago, Ex-NHL star Eddie Olczyk joins the Kraken broadcast as a color analyst for ROOT SPORTS.
It was recently announced that Eddie Olczyk will join the ROOT SPORTS Seattle broadcast this season becoming a part of the already high-energy Kraken TV crew. Olczyk will join play-by-play man John Forslund and another ex-NHL player now analyst JT Brown. He will act as another analyst for the Kraken broadcasts, while still honoring his other TV contracts. ‘Edzo’ (as he’s commonly referred to) will continue his work with TNT on their national NHL coverage as well as NBC Sports’ Triple Crown coverage.
Back on June 9, 1984 the Chicago Blackhawks selected 20 year old Chicago native Eddie Olczyk third overall. The 1984 draft class saw legends like Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and Brett Hull all join the NHL. In his rookie year he posted 50pts in 70 games with 10 +/-, over the next 15 years he would continue to play in the NHL across 5 different teams (not including CHI). He would finish his career back with Chicago for the 1999-00 season. By the end of his time in the NHL he had played 1,031 games, scored 342 goals, totaled 794 points, as well as 57 playoff games and 34pts.
Olczyk also spent time on the Team USA on three Canada Cup teams and four World Championship teams, captaining the WC team in 1992-93. All of that would pale in comparison to the Stanley Cup he won while with the ’94 New York Rangers.
After retiring in 2000 he took some time off before joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as head coach for two seasons. It would have been three if not for the 2004-05 lockout. Over that time he would coach legends like Marc-André Fleury, Mario Lemieux, and Sidney Crosby. However years earlier he had already dipped his toe into color commenting with FSN Pittsburgh. The season after he was let go as Penguins head coach (2006) he returned to Chicago joining the Blackhawks broadcasts for the next 15 seasons. Over that time he would attract the attention of the national broadcaster NHL on Versus and would become their lead color man. Later when the national rights went to NBC Olczyk followed.
Besides NHL coverage, Olczyk would also cover the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. His abilities were also tapped for the popular EA Sports NHL franchise, where Mike Emrick, Ray Ferraro and himself would provide their voices for four years from NHL 15 to NHL 19. For many that crew will forever be the best commentators of the EA Sports franchise.
All of his hard work in the NHL and broadcasting has not gone unnoticed, as he has won two Emmy awards and has been inducted into several Halls of Fame including the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
However his most impressive achievement has to be winning his battle with stage three colon cancer. Diagnosed back in 2017, Olczyk announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer and a long battle began. After undergoing a tumor removal surgery, he happily announced he was “cancer-free” in March of 2018. About a year and a half later in October of 2019 Olczyk released an autobiography entitled “Eddie Olczyk: Beating the Odds in Hockey and in Life” in which he shares stories from his NHL days and how important his family and friends’ support was during his battle with cancer.
Connection to the Kraken
For some the decision to leave NBC Chicago for ROOT SPORTS may be a confusing one. However, after looking more into the Kraken organization, the move makes sense. For starters Olczyk played two seasons with Kraken GM Ron Francis from the start of the 1996 season to the end of the ’98 season. While playing together the two were actually roommates on the road, where they spent plenty of time together. Undoubtedly the two have a connection and that relationship will help bring behind-the-scenes details to the broadcasts.
Not only does Olczyk have a connection with the GM, he is the brother of the team’s assistant GM Rick Olczyk. Rick has been the assistant to Francis since way back in 2014 with the Carolina Hurricanes. When Francis left the Canes organization Rick followed and is now the Kraken’s lead expert on salary cap management and following the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
While the majority of Olczyk’s time with hockey may not have included the Kraken, his knowledge of the game knows no bounds. He is one of TV’s best broadcasters in the NHL and having him join the Kraken team is truly exciting. There’s no doubt that the broadcasting team of Forslund, Brown, and newest addition Olczyk will be one of the favorites for years to come.