During the first intermission of Sunday’s 5-4 victory of the Chicago Blackhawks against the Seattle Kraken, Eddie Olczyk emerged from behind a door that read “KRAKEN TV.”
Watching a former Hawks color analyst emerge from the United Center’s visitor’s booth is like watching a Seattleite sip a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
Olczyk’s first return to UC was to call the Kraken game as part of the Roots Sports crew.
“It’s definitely an emotional time,” Olchik told the Tribune. “You know, it’s kind of like that feeling when you get traded…and then you go back and play against your own team for the first time. Like I did (September 1987 when the Hawks traded Olchik to the Toronto Maple Leafs. When you trade to ), you can gain a little more experience once you’re traded.”
Sometimes I was looking for words to express how I felt back at UC.
“You know, some are still new and fresh,” he said. “I mean, I definitely miss home. I miss being here. But[I]have great people to work with and a great crew. I am just doing it.
“Once the game starts, we get into that part. So it’s nice to see some familiar faces here today.”
Olchik shocked the hockey world in July by announcing he wouldn’t be returning to the Hawks’ TV booth for a 17th season.
This surprise coincided with news that he had signed with the Kraken alongside play-by-play Jon Forsland. A month later, Kraken hired Olchik’s son Nick as a television and radio analyst.
Eddie Orchik said at the time that he was at a dead end with his contract with the Hawks.
The Hawks replied that they believed Olchik had a contract on an extension ready to sign, and his change of heart caught them completely off guard.
That explanation did little to stave off publicity that the Hawks took over for the loss of “Eddie O.”
“There are always two sides to every story,” says Olczyk. “I love the fans here[in Chicago]and I will continue to do so. They made me feel very special as a player and as a broadcaster. …but it was my decision to walk away from the opportunity presented to me, the team will be here much longer than I am.
“It’s an emotional time. It’s been an emotional one for me, for the team, for the fans. But everyone will think about what they want. I hope everyone understands that the decision is ultimately a business and lifestyle decision.
“We decided to take a step back and explore other opportunities.”
Olcyzk saw several members of the Hawks, including CEO Danny Wertz, in Denver when he called the Hawks’ opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 12 on TNT.
“I gave Danny a big hug and saw (Hawks president) Rocky (Werts),” Olczyk said.
Danny Wertz told the Tribune last week:
“But he’s with a lot of family – his brothers, his sons there – so it’s a very different situation. So it’s a great opportunity for him. We’re really happy for him. He knows he’s Blackhawk forever.”
Jaime Faulkner, President of Business Operations, added: “We are thinking what is best for Eddie and we fully respect and understand his decisions.”
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Among the friends and colleagues Olczyk said he reunited with at UC were Patrick Sharp (one of his replacements as Hawks TV analyst), radio play-by-play John Wiedeman, security director Brian Higgins, and Downstairs. There was a parking attendant, Frankie. ”
“Change is always new, but having a lot of familiar faces certainly helps,” says Olczyk. “Especially when you’re in Seattle.”
Besides Nick, Olchik’s brother Ricky is the Kraken’s assistant general manager, and his son Eddie Jr. is an amateur scout.
“My sons and my brother and[general manager]Ronnie Francis were roommates together in Pittsburgh…played hundreds of games with Johnny Forsland,” Orczysk said.
But “My wife is here[in Chicago]my grandchildren are here, my other kids are here,” he said. , so that everything affects this whole part of me.”
This won’t be the last time Hawks fans will see Olchik.
“He’s back in our building again, and he’ll be back again and again for nationals and a few other things we’re prepping for,” Faulkner said. can see him in various capacities at Blackhawks games this year.”