Last August, Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk, received terrifying news. His doctors found that he had stage 3 colon cancer just days from his 51st birthday.
Eddie had a painful surgery to remove the tumor, which he said was the size of his fist, but the end is not near. In an interview with WGN-Ch. 9’s Julie Unruh on Thursday Eddie said, “I think it’s OK to be scared. I still am, because I’ll have to deal with cancer the rest of my life.”
Olcczyk began a half-year chemotherapy regimen following his diagnosis and surgery. Eddie is extremely well known in the Chicago area where he grew up and still lives, at the age of 17 he made a name for himself as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
From there, he went on to participate in the NHL for 16 seasons. Eddie famously played for the Blackhawks and five other teams, then he became the coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins for 2+ seasons and he even managed to get inducted in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
His friends and family describe Eddie as a big teddy bear. He mounts over most people, standing at 6 foot-1 and 200 pounds, but inside the hard shell of a serious athlete is truly sensitive guy who is thinking a lot about life and the medical challenge that lies before him.
Over the course of just five days this summer, Olczyk’s perfect health vanished and he was sent to a hospital emergency room. The symptoms came fast and out of nowhere. He said the first pains started in his stomach, then there was violent vomiting, then two surgeries to remove a tumor the size of his fist. A tumor he never knew he had.
His wife of 29 years, Diana, has been by his side all while Eddie tried to wrap his head around it.
“Without the support of family, friends and the Blackhawks, I don’t know where I’d be,” the team’s color commentator said.
Olczyk is one of those people who find their silver linings, and in this case he says his battle with cancer has suddenly reminded him of what’s important in life.
“Every organization has a thread that weaves through it, and if there is a thread that weaves through the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s Eddie Olczyk,” said John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. “He’s synonymous with the Blackhawks, part of the logo, part of everything that represents our franchise.”