NBC Sports lead hockey analyst Eddie Olczyk is said to be “recovering well” from surgery to remove a tumor after being diagnosed with a form of colon cancer last week, Chicago Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement Tuesday.
Olczyk played 1,031 NHL games for six teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Rangers, L.A. Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins, from 1984 to 2000, scoring 342 goals and 794 points.
After coaching the Penguins during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons, Olczyk moved to the broadcast booth as an analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL and also Blackhawks games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
“I have been diagnosed with a form of colon cancer and am currently undergoing treatment for the disease. I have been working with outstanding health care professionals and expect to be back in the broadcast booth after I complete my treatment,” said Olczyk in a statement.
“Having the support and encouragement from my family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization, NBC Sports and all my friends and fans means the world to me and will give me continued strength to beat this. My family and I appreciate privacy during this time as we focus our attention on my treatments.”
Terry said that Olczyk will undergo further treatment, including chemotherapy, over the coming weeks.
“We look forward to his return to good health after the completion of his treatment,” said Terry.
The Blackhawks selected Olczyk third overall in the 1984 NHL Draft. He returned to Chicago to finish his playing career, appearing in 33 games for the Blackhawks in 1999-2000. Five years ago, he was named to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
“Eddie Olczyk is a treasured member of the Chicago Blackhawks family and we will be supportive of him as he fights this disease,” said Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough. “We encourage our fans to keep him in their thoughts as we all look forward to having him back in good health as soon as possible.”
Messages from fans and media wishing Olczyk well have been circulating social media throughout the afternoon since the announcement.
“On behalf of everyone at NBC Sports, we wish Eddie and his family all the best as they cope with this health issue,” said NBC Sports executive producer and president of production Sam Flood in a statement.
“Our top priority is for Edzo to get healthy, so he won’t be joining us at the beginning of the season. We’ll have information on how we’ll staff those games soon. But most of all, we’re looking forward to the day when Edzo comes off IR, and rejoins Doc and Pierre to call the great game of hockey.”