The Chicago Blackhawks honored one of their own on Hockey Fights Cancer night at the United Center on Sunday.
Eddie Olczyk skated onto the ice fighting back tears as the Chicago faithful cheered him on.
The honoring was two-fold.
First, it was a part of Chicago’s ‘One More Shift’ ceremony that’s included former players such as Ed Belfour, Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick.
Secondly, it was a chance to properly acknowledge Olczyk’s fight against Stage 3 colon cancer, a battle he waged for months before announcing in March that he was cancer-free.
Olczyk took the ceremonial faceoff opposite of Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu (whose brother Saku missed the entire 2001-02 season with Burkitt’s lymphoma).
Carter Holmes, an 11-year-old Blackhawks fan who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June, got to drop the puck after spending time with the team thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Olczyk gave Holmes a hug after handing him the puck.
Olczyk played 222 games for the Blackhawks across five seasons, scoring 77 goals 132 points. The 52-year-old was drafted third overall by Chicago in the 1984 NHL Draft and went on to play 1,031 games with six different teams over his 16-year career, including stops in Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
With the Rangers, Olczyk lifted the Stanley Cup in 1994.
Olczyk has been working with NBC as a color commentator since 2006.