Apparently, the Chicago Blackhawks’ ongoing rebuild is not limited to the on-ice product.
According to multiple media reports, Eddie Olczyk is leaving his role as the color analyst for NBC Sports Chicago’s broadcasts of Blackhawks games.
The news of Olczyk leaving the Blackhawks booth was first reported by Mark Lazerus of The Athletic.
Source: Eddie Olczyk is OUT as Blackhawks color commentator and the team is reaching out to former players to check their availability for the role.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 18, 2022
Later on Monday afternoon, Ben Pope of the Sun-Times reported on Olczyk’s new destination: handling the same role for the Seattle Kraken.
BREAKING: Eddie Olczyk is leaving the Blackhawks after 16 years.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 18, 2022
His next job: the Seattle Kraken broadcast booth.https://t.co/FQINtcb3Np
Lazerus later reported that the news of Olczyk’s departure caught the Blackhawks’ front office by surprise:
I'm told the Blackhawks were "blindsided" by this news and expected Olczyk to be back. They had made a multi-year extension offer. https://t.co/Z8STBSgATC— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 18, 2022
Jay Zawaski from CHGO_Sports reported a similar response from people within the organization:
More info as it comes:— Jay Zawaski (@jayzawaski) July 18, 2022
- #Blackhawks leadership was "blindsided" today, thinking they had reached a verbal deal weeks ago.
And more is apparently coming, according to Phillip Thompson from the Chicago Tribune:
The issue appears to be that the Hawks had paid Olczyk for an 82-game schedule, even though he popped out for national games, and wanted to pay him per game, but sweetened the offer.— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) July 18, 2022
It’ll be a surprise to see Olczyk anyone where other than Chicago, given his roots in and around here. He grew up in the suburbs just outside of the city, attended Brother Rice High School on the southwest side and was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round (No. 3 overall) of the 1984 NHL Draft. His NHL career included 1,031 regular-season games across 16 seasons, with 322 of those games happening with the Blackhawks.
After his playing days ended, Olczyk spent 1.5 seasons as the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach, posting a 31-64-8 record. Soon after leaving that job, he arrived in the Blackhawks’ broadcast booth alongside Pat Foley, where he’s been ever since. Olczyk has also risen up the analyst ranks for the NHL’s national broadcasts, where he and the now-retired Doc Emrick called the majority of the postseason games from the Blackhawks glory days.
[UPDATE] Olcyzk appears to be making the media rounds this afternoon, as he has now commented to multiple outlets in Chicago:
UPDATED: Eddie Olczyk tells @suntimes_sports, “We just could not come to terms on a contract, and I have stepped away."— Jeff Agrest (@jeffreya22) July 18, 2022
Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk joining Seattle Kraken’s broadcast team https://t.co/GawY0daGKo
I just got off the phone with Eddie Olczyk. He confirmed it was his decision to leave #Blackhawks: "There was a contract on the table, but we just couldn't come to an agreement."— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) July 18, 2022
Full story: https://t.co/QpqmYFA0Q2
Eddie Olczyk said he had a great conversation with Rocky Wirtz this afternoon, but he's "at peace" with his decision to move on.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 18, 2022
[UPDATE, II] The Blackhawks released a statement:
Best of luck in the future Edzo ❤️ pic.twitter.com/lx7pqAQjjE— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 18, 2022