'It was a helluva run and I'm proud': Olczyk officially inks broadcast deal with Seattle
For some time now we've known there will be some awfully dark days coming for the Chicago Blackhawks on the ice.
But who knew just how dark they'd get away from the rink?
Five months ago, the Hawks officially cut ties with legendary broadcaster Pat Foley. They could have transitioned to another broadcast team by telling Foley he could do just the home games.
But no. They simply let him go.
The hope was that Foley's partner, Eddie Olczyk, would still be around to at least make the next few seasons watchable. Who better than Olczyk to give assessments of the young players attempting to make a name for themselves?
At least the best color commentary man in hockey would be there to ease their pain and skate them through the tough times.
But no. The Hawks' offer to Olczyk wasn't strong enough -- and he walked, officially inking a five-year deal with the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
We've known this day was coming since mid-July, but it's still a sad one for everyone associated with the organization -- and for you, the fan.
Olczyk will join play-by-play man John Forslund and analyst JT Brown in the Kraken's booth. Olczyk will also call approximately 30 games for TNT.
"We are always striving to improve with the goal of someday having the best broadcast in all of the National Hockey League," Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke told NHL.com. "Adding Eddie to our team gets us closer to that goal.
I spoke with Olczyk on Thursday morning and asked him about why the deal with the Hawks never come to fruition. He graciously blocked most of the queries aside, saying he didn't "want to get into the weeds."
Bottom line: He loves Chicago and loves the passion Hawks fans bring every night.
But in the end, Olcyzk took the opportunity to work with his brother, Ricky, who is the assistant general manager in Seattle.
While it was reported that Olczyk was offered a five-year deal with the Hawks, a source said -- that while true on the surface -- it also could have been shortened.
"It was obviously a very, very hard decision," Olcyzk said. "I went through it a million times, and here we are. Just couldn't come to an agreement. It was a helluva run and I'm proud, and everyone's moving forward."
Well, Olczyk is. We'll see how this affects the Hawks in terms of goodwill, attendance and TV ratings.
Team morale -- especially with the veterans -- had already taken a massive hit with the trading of Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. Patrick Kane's not happy and neither is captain Jonathan Toews.
And behind the scenes? One high-ranking employee said the morale "is the lowest I've experienced." The organization has slashed salaries and also recently fired more than a dozen very good people.
During Foley's final broadcast in March, his replacement, Chris Vosters, spoke with Foley and Eddie Olczyk. There were smiles a mile long and plenty of optimism about the broadcast booth's future.
Five months later, that's all gone.
What an 'O' so sad day.