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Olczyk leaving Blackhawks to join Kraken's broadcast team

Andy Devlin / National Hockey League / Getty

After 16 seasons in the booth for the Chicago Blackhawks, Eddie Olczyk will join the Seattle Kraken's broadcast team on ROOT Sports beginning in the 2022-23 campaign, he announced Monday.

"It was not an easy decision. But Chicago is home, it'll always be home," he told The Athletic's Mark Lazerus. "But I just felt like I needed to take a step back and pursue other opportunities that presented (themselves)."

Olczyk is expected to continue his role as lead color commentator on national broadcasts for TNT.

The Blackhawks issued the following statement on his departure.

In Seattle, he'll be reunited with play-by-play man John Forslund, whom Olczyk called games with on NBC in the past. Current TV analyst JT Brown will remain in his role at ROOT Sports to form a three-man broadcast booth, reports Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.

Olczyk's contract expired June 30. Negotiations with the Blackhawks reportedly stalled over the past few weeks.

Chicago was reportedly blindsided by the news, per Lazerus. The organization had apparently offered Olczyk a multi-year extension and believed there was a verbal agreement in place. The deal offered him a higher per-game rate, but it didn't include all 82 games thanks to Olczyk's duties with TNT and NBC's horse-racing coverage.

Olczyk's son, Nick, who made some television and radio appearances for the Blackhawks this past season, also isn't expected to return.

Longtime Chicago play-by-play announcer Pat Foley retired at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. Chris Vosters was named as Foley's replacement moving forward.

The Blackhawks selected the Chicago-born Olczyk third overall during the 1984 draft. He scored 77 goals and 132 assists in 322 contests with the franchise.

A veteran of 1,031 NHL games, Olczyk also suited up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and Pittsburgh Penguins. He won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994.

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