Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray will be part of the Chicago Blackhawks’ TV sales space in a cut up position: ‘Pretty much this was a no-brainer’


Patrick Sharp and Troy Murray will cut up duties as analysts for Chicago Blackhawks video games on NBC Sports Chicago subsequent season, the workforce introduced Thursday.

Both had been floated as candidates — Sharp particularly — as soon as longtime analyst Eddie Olczyk surprised the Hawks by rejecting a long-term offer to return to the booth.

Sharp and Murray are former Hawks gamers who turned fan favorites on TV and radio, respectively.

“Pretty much this was a no-brainer,” Jaime Faulkner, Hawks president of enterprise operations, informed the Tribune.

“We wanted to be thoughtful about making the decision for putting together this whole team, and we’re really excited about this new broadcast team of commentators and analysts because they’re going to represent the future of Blackhawks broadcasting.”

Chris Vosters, Pat Boyle, John Wiedeman, Caley Chelios and Colby Cohen will return in numerous roles starting from sales space and studio work to radio and podcasting.

“Our broadcast team that we have in place — TV, radio and studio — combine for 1,400 NHL games played, so they know hockey,” Faulkner stated. “Sixty years of broadcast experience, so they know broadcasting really well. And you’ll see people across the different channels as well.”

The Hawks can pitch “team” all they need — but it surely’s no secret the marquee belongs to Sharp and Murray. And Faulkner acknowledged as a lot.

“As soon as the Eddie announcement was made, there was a lot of speculation coming from social (media) — who was going to replace him and who people wanted to have sit next to Chris Vosters, and also through conversations with our season ticket members and some of our in-person events,” Faulkner stated. “I feel folks had been making loud and clear that they’d like to see Troy and/or Sharpie sitting subsequent to Chris.

“And we said, ’Well, great, we’ll give you those’ since we were already in conversations with them about doing work for us. Obviously Troy being with us anyway, it became a pretty easy no-brainer decision.”

Faulkner stated she had been in talks with Murray and Sharp as a result of — again when the Hawks believed that they had a long-term take care of Olczyk — the workforce was making an attempt to line up replacements for Olczyk when he was referred to as to cowl nationwide video games for TNT or horse racing for NBC.

Murray and Sharp can have a couple of 50-50 cut up of house and highway video games working with Vosters, who was named Pat Foley’s alternative as play-by-play man late final season.

Foley, Olczyk’s longtime accomplice, retired in April after serving because the Hawks play caller for 39 seasons. It’s no secret that even informal Hawks followers have grumbled concerning the lack of Foley and Olczyk in a single offseason.

“We wanted to make sure we brought in some familiar faces,” Faulkner stated of hiring Murray and Sharp.

She declined to disclose phrases of both’s settlement, “but we are hopeful that this is a long-term solution for us.”

For Sharp, the rent marks a return to televised hockey protection after a quick hiatus.

The three-time Stanley Cup winner was a full-time studio analyst for nationwide video games on “NHL on NBC” in the course of the 2019-20 season — however that got here to finish after NBC Sports pulled out of bidding for nationwide broadcast rights, which at the moment are carried on ESPN and Turner Sports’ TNT and TBS.

Last season Sharp labored as an adviser to the teaching workers at his alma mater, the University of Vermont.

Sharp’s first foray into NBC Sports Chicago’s Hawks protection got here as a pre- and postgame analyst in October 2018, just a few months after he retired as a participant.

Murray boasts an extended historical past of TV and radio expertise protecting the Hawks, relationship to 1998, when he teamed with the late Chet Coppock as a studio analyst when Fox Sports Chicago hosted Hawks video games.

Murray later changed Dale Tallon within the sales space in November 2003, protecting video games with Foley on Comcast SportsInternet and WSCR-AM till the Hawks ended simulcasting in May 2006. That July, Murray fashioned a radio partnership with Wiedeman, a brand new rent from the New York Islanders.

Murray announced last August that he has cancer and took a hiatus from radio work till December.

Faulkner stated Murray has been in good well being.

“We plan on Troy doing all of our games,” she stated.

Faulkner stated Sharp and/or Murray would possibly broadcast remotely occasionally: “If COVID (taught) us anything, it’s that technology is an incredible enabler.”

Sharp made his house life an “important” a part of the negotiations, she stated.

“We wanted to make sure for both Troy with his health and Sharpie with his family (that we) put something in place that worked well for them personally and well for the broadcast team as well as our fans,” she stated.

The Hawks have to attend for the nationwide TV schedule to be finalized earlier than settling the small print of who will cowl every native broadcast.

Meanwhile, Faulkner plans to develop the Hawks’ involvement in podcasting, although she’s understanding which broadcasters will likely be concerned in that blend and to what extent.

“When we think about broadcast, it’s our podcast, it’s TV, it’s radio, our partners with WGN (AM), Univision and NBCSN, and then obviously our own podcast that we run, so our fans will get to see this group across all those different channels.”

Here’s how duties break down on TV and radio.

Chris Vosters

He’ll function play-by-play announcer, presumably for the entire season. Faulkner stated he would possibly share the TV sales space with Murray and Sharp for the season opener, however that’s not a certainty.

Troy Murray

He’ll present TV coloration commentary, identical to he already does on the radio and can proceed to do.

“I think Troy brings familiarity with our fan base,” Faulkner stated. “He’s best in class at what he does and absolutely an easy decision to move him into TV.”

Patrick Sharp

He’ll additionally coloration commentary for TV.

”I feel Patrick was unbelievable in his nationwide work,” Faulkner stated. “He did a great job for us when he came on and covered some of our games. He brings a different perspective for our fans as well on Blackhawks hockey.”

Pat Boyle

He’ll return as studio host, which he has been since 2013.

Caley Chelios

Like final season, she might float between a number of roles.

“She was great on the radio last year, our fans loved her,” Faulkner stated. “When Troy’s on TV, she’ll for the most part back up Troy on the radio.”

Colby Cohen

The former Colorado Avalanche defenseman will resume his jack-of-all commerce duties, reporting in the course of the recreation’s “between the glass” segments and doing studio and podcast work.

John Wiedeman

Like a number of others, he had spot obligation in reduction of Foley on TV, however he’ll return full time to radio.

A notable absence on the checklist is Jason Ross Jr., who turned the primary Black play-by-play announcer in Hawks historical past when he referred to as a recreation in Las Vegas on Jan. 8. Ross additionally crammed in for Weideman on the radio.

“The intent is for John to be in the seat most of the time,” Faulkner stated. “We will work on giving some people just a few reps just so we’ll be prepared just in case we hit COVID or something happens. And we’re still working out who that will be.”

Faulkner teased a brand new wrinkles that doubtless will likely be added to Hawks’ game-night protection.

Pregame, intermission and postgame exhibits on TV might characteristic a rotation of Blackhawks alumni — and never simply within the studio, the place Andrew Shaw typically was a visitor final season.

“Everybody is familiar with the success of the (Peyton and Eli) ‘ManningCasts,’ so in our mind, how great would it be to have a couple of our alumni at home sitting on their own couches commentating on the game,” Faulkner stated. “Not play-by-play, not a proper and conventional broadcast, however with the ability to present their perspective on gamers they know, what they see taking place in an actual entertaining and relaxed and enjoyable setting.

“Those are some of the things that we would like to try to do this year. And we have a number of our alumni who would be interested in participating if we can pull that off.”

Panelists additionally will focus on the Rockford IceHogs and comply with the progress of draft picks.

Since Faulkner was hired in December 2020, when Danny Wirtz was elevated to CEO, she has talked of modernizing how followers see video games, whether or not it’s from their seats on the United Center or of their dwelling rooms.

“We’d like to try different actual views, see what works, and how do we lay data and information over that,” Faulkner stated. “Do we do various kinds of cameras that everyone’s seeing proper now within the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA?

“So we’re going to try to test new technology with NBC (Sports Chicago). I think they’re as excited as we are to test some of these new things — see how our fans respond to them.”

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