On August 8th, NHL Hall of Famer, Eddie Olczyk, announced he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Soon after, Olczyk underwent surgery to remove the tumor and began a 24 week treatment for the disease.
For the last decade, Olczyk has served as the lead game analyst for the NHL on NBC and Blackhawks’ broadcasts on WGN. NHL fans and his peers in the industry were hopeful to see the former player and coach return to the booth following his six months of treatment, but Olczyk has loftier goals. Six weeks into his 24 weeks of chemotherapy Olczyk plans to work alongside Doc Emrick for the national broadcast of Blackhawks-Blues on NBCSN, this Wednesday night in St. Louis. He also plans to join WGN-9’s telecast of Oilers-Blackhawks from Chicago, with long-time play-by-play partner, Pat Foley.
His chemo treatments last 48 hours and Olczyk said the recovery from each has varied. Side effects include nausea, fatigue, and neuropathy, but following his second treatment, Olczyk also experienced blood clots. His most recent treatment has been the “most consistent and tolerable.”
“I feel like I’ve progressed nicely and hopefully I get enough energy here in the next 50-some hours when I have to strap it on for real,” Olczyk said. “I’ll do what I can. I’m just excited to have that carrot out there, the goals on my calendar that I’m striving for over the course of my treatment.”
Olczyk has a number of those “carrots” marked on his calendar, games he would like to broadcast, as well as events unrelated to hockey such as his daughters December graduation from Alabama.
Olczyk isn’t sure how strong he’ll be, but knows he can rely on Emrick and Foley to help him in the booth as needed. “I think he’s too humble to think about it in these terms,” Emrick said to USA Today, “but I think he’s an inspiration to other people.”