There will be at least one big broadcasting change in a major hockey market next season.
According to a report from Jeff Agrest at the Sun-Times, longtime Chicago Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk is leaving for the Seattle Kraken booth after contract negotiations broke down.
Olczyk, who also works national games for Turner Sports, will reportedly join current Kraken broadcasters John Forslund and J.T. Brown to form a three-person booth for Root Sports.
According to Agrest, the issue boiled down to contract length on offer, with Chicago not being willing to match what Seattle was offering:
Olczyk, who has been on Hawks broadcasts since 2006, couldn’t reach an agreement with management on a new contract. His deal expired after last season. According to the source, the Hawks would not give him the same contract length that the Kraken did.
The move will see Olczyk paired with Forslund, his longtime partner for national broadcasts. For the Kraken, it means moving to a three-person booth, which is always a bit of a risk. But given his chemistry with Forslund and Forslund already having experience working with Brown, hopefully things will click for everyone at an early juncture.
This also means further turnover in Chicago, which saw Pat Foley retire after the season. The Blackhawks are not nearly the franchise they were during their dynastic run early last decade, but Chicago remains a massive market for the sport and there’s always a chance for a turnaround. (There’s obviously a chance that Foley leaving played into Olczyk’s willingness to leave for a different offer, too, especially to work alongside another play-by-play voice he already knows.)
Now the team will have to find a new color analyst as well, marking a full booth turnover after an impressive run of stability. They’d already announced Chris Vosters as Foley’s replacement, and now they have to find a new analyst as well.