Former Chicago Blackhawk and Winnipeg Jet Eddie Olczyk will be enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. In a time full of disappointment with the ongoing NHL lockout, this is one of those moments where hockey fans can smile about the recognition of a great player and even better ambassador for the sport of hockey.
Olczyk was drafted by the Blackhawks third overall in 1984 and played 1,031 NHL games for six different franchises until he hung ‘em up in 2000. Olczyk amassed 342 goals and 452 assists over the course of his 16 seasons with Chicago, Winnipeg, the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a member of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Rangers.
After his playing career, Olczyk had a brief coaching stint with Pittsburgh until finding a home in the press box as a color commentator for the Blackhawks as well as on all of the big nationally televised games in the United States. Olczyk has become famous for his ability to break down a game while also keeping things light and funny during a broadcast. Hawks fans may get tired of his goofing off and catch phrases, but overall he’s one of the best as far as color guys go, especially on national TV.
Away from the NHL, Olczyk is a guy who’s done a lot for the community in terms of contributing to charities and dedicating his time to kids. Any professional athlete or celebrity can donate money to whatever foundation they choose, but Olczyk takes time from his schedule to teach kids how to skate, shoot and handle the puck. He’s run hockey camps every year and has helped lots of players of different ages and skill levels become better at the game they love.
CSN Chicago put together a very nice exclusive on Olczyk with interviews form “Edzo” and his children, as well as Blackhawks president John McDonough and fellow broadcaster Pat Foley.
It’s a shame there won’t be hockey being played on the day when Eddie-O goes into the US HHOF, but even that won’t overshadow the achievements Olczyk has piled up over the course of his involvement with hockey.