Kraken TV job additionally an opportunity to be nearer to household for Eddie Olczyk
His personal brush with mortality isn’t one thing new Kraken tv voice Eddie Olczyk takes evenly; a well-chronicled bout with Stage 3 colon most cancers not too way back he wasn’t sure he’d survive.
But though that scare made him wish to battle for the issues he already appreciated, the dying final summer time of Olczyk’s mom, Diana, reminded him there was nonetheless extra he’d love to do. He’d thought of it loads whereas mourning along with his youthful brother, Ricky, a Kraken assistant common supervisor, and the remainder of his close-knit household of their Chicago hometown, the place onetime NHL heart Olczyk spent years as a Blackhawks participant and 15 extra as a broadcaster working their video games.
And popping out of these heavy days, getting into the ultimate 12 months of his Blackhawks broadcast deal, Olczyk, 55, determined there was a remaining hockey dream he’d like to satisfy if afforded the chance.
“We’d just lost our mom … and it was always something Ricky and I had kind of talked about,” Olczyk, a 16-year NHL veteran and U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, stated over espresso this week on the Kraken Community Iceplex throughout a short stopover in Seattle. “We’d never played together, never worked on a team together because of the age and stuff. But that had some major play in it.”
And so, when extension talks with the Blackhawks snagged this summer time, Olczyk didn’t hesitate when his brother’s crew made their pitch. He’ll be part of the ROOT Sports sales space alongside incumbent Kraken play-by-play voice John Forslund — a former NBC Sports teammate on nationwide broadcasts — and analyst JT Brown.
“To be around Ricky is big, because I don’t always get the chance,” Olczyk stated of his brother, who was a crew captain at Brown University and used his regulation diploma to interrupt into the NHL, serving as an AGM in Edmonton and Carolina. “And it’s been exhausting with my mom. Ricky has been the [family] captain and caretaker of my dad. Anytime you lose a member of the family, particularly a guardian, you want the one captain to take the bull by the horns, and Ricky’s performed that.
“So to be around him more, I know my mom is smiling, which makes us all feel pretty good.”
And he isn’t simply reuniting along with his brother. His son, Eddie Jr., who performed junior hockey with Brown within the USHL, was already a Kraken scout, whereas his different son, Nick, has additionally joined the ROOT broadcast crew. And then there’s common supervisor Ron Francis, who was roommates with Olczyk within the closing season for each with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1997-98.
It was 5 years in the past final month that Olczyk introduced he was stepping away from NBC work to endure chemotherapy and radiation remedies. The grueling ordeal, chronicled in his Beating the Odds: In Hockey and in Life guide co-authored with Perry Lefko, resulted in March 2018 when he introduced on-air he was cancer-free.
“People always ask me with the cancer whether I look at things differently now than I did before I was sick,” Olczyk stated. “And the one thing I guess I’m proud and excited to say is that I don’t.
“For me, what it did was it reassured me that I was in a pretty good place before I was sick. And so when I got sick, there’s some peace with that.”
Olczyk stated particulars the deliberate three-man setup stay in flux. They may have him, Forslund and Brown in the identical sales space — relying on the scale of an enviornment’s broadcast space — or have one working from a unique vantage level.
And Olczyk continues to be awaiting a finalized nationwide broadcast schedule from TNT earlier than he is aware of which ROOT video games he’ll do. He’s nonetheless commuting between coasts, retaining an Eastside house for when he’s working right here.
His son, Nick, has rented close to him, however on a extra everlasting foundation as he develops Kraken content material throughout TV, radio and digital platforms. Olczyk’s son spent 4 seasons as a radio analyst on ECHL Indy Fuel broadcasts. He additionally did interim Blackhawks radio work final season after their analyst, Troy Murray, was identified with most cancers.
Midway by means of a radio broadcast final January, Nick made an emergency TV debut filling in for his dad, who was taken to a hospital with what turned out to be a minor sickness.
“Her used to drive from Chicago to Indianapolis to make 50 bucks a game,” Olczyk stated. “He did over 200 games in Indy and got an unbelievable opportunity when my former linemate, Troy, got sick. I never dreamed he’d make it to the NHL this fast and it was an unfortunate circumstance. But the Kraken really liked what they saw and felt he could be their Swiss Army knife, so to speak.”
Toward the tip of this week’s interview, Olczyk’s son emerged from the Kraken’s workplaces to get his dad for a scheduled broadcast assembly. There’s loads of work forward perfecting this season’s setup for a second-year Kraken fan base fairly totally different from the “Original Six” market left behind.
“There’s a hockey history here, but you always have to assume there’s somebody new watching,” Olczyk stated. “They may not know what an icing is, or a specific slang in hockey. And it’s OK to get that in there. But the one thing we’ll have is great conversation. So, it’s going to be fun.”