Eddie Olczyk has been an institution in Chicago. Now, it appears he’s moving on.
According to a report from Mark Lazerus of The Athletic on Monday, Edzo is not coming back to serve as the Blackhawks’ primary color commentator for the upcoming season.
From the Lazerus report:
A source said that Blackhawks director of broadcasting Trevor Bray has been reaching out to former players Monday morning to check their availability to serve as color commentator on NBC Sports Chicago broadcasts next season because Olczyk is not expected to return to the post he’s held for 16 seasons.
Olczyk’s contract expired on June 30 — the same day the Blackhawks let go a number of lower-profile staffers — and negotiations stalled over the past couple of weeks. Olczyk, who also serves as TNT’s lead game analyst, is expected to be picked up by another team and continue his dual local/national workload.
Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports Chicago — his employer — confirmed the report.
Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting Olczyk will move on to join the Seattle Kraken’s broadcast booth.
Olczyk was drafted third overall by the Blackhawks in 1984 and has been inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. He played the first three seasons of his NHL career in Chicago — his hometown — before he was traded with Al Secord to Toronto Maple Leafs for Bob McGill, Steve Thomas and Rick Vaive in 1987. He was part of the New York Rangers team that won the Stanley Cup in 1994.
He returned to the Blackhawks for the final two seasons of his NHL career, a career that spanned 1,031 regular season games. He served as the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins for two years, including the rookie seasons of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-André Fleury.
Before the 2006-07 season he joined Pat Foley in the booth to call Blackhawks games for the Chicago audience that has fallen in love with him.
Over the years, he’s become the national color voice of NBC Sports and, this past season, TNT. Over the past year, he has been an important part of the Blackhawks’ search committees to guide the process in hiring a new general manager.
The part of the report that’s heartbreaking is Edzo looking to join another club’s broadcast team. He grew up in Chicago and spoke to fans from a perspective of a life-long fan as well as someone who’s played the game at its highest level. He sounds like a Blackhawks fan, and called games for fans who saw the game the way he does.
As the Blackhawks look for a new color voice to join Pat Foley’s replacement, Chris Vosters, in the booth, it appears Edzo’s son, Nick, isn’t an option. Ben Pope is reporting Nick is also leaving the organization with his father.