There are times when moments hit you harder than normal. For the Blackhawks, given color analyst Eddie Olczyk’s battle with colon cancer, hosting Hockey Fights Cancer on Monday night had that much more significance.
Olczyk was part of the Blackhawks’ Hockey Fights Cancer pregame ceremony on Monday, dropping the ceremonial puck with 9-year-old Mount Prospect native Lauren Graver, who is battling rhabdomyosarcoma (a rare muscle cancer). Olczyk had his latest round of chemotherapy on Monday morning, which includes going home with a portable pump for additional chemotherapy over 48 hours.
For the Blackhawks, Olczyk’s fight has been inspiring.
“Obviously it’s tough news when you hear that about Edzo but it seems like he’s been doing good and been fighting it really hard,” Patrick Kane said. “It’s always good to see him around the rink. We know he’s battling and some days might be tougher than others, but he seems to show up and be around the rink and talk hockey with the guys. So it’s fun to see him around and he’s a great man. Obviously we wish him the best, too.”
Olczyk was diagnosed with colon cancer in August. He’s made periodic analyst appearances this season, beginning with the Blackhawks’ game at St. Louis on Oct. 18. His latest game was Wednesday when the Blackhawks traveled to Tampa.
“We see him on the road, we’ve seen him here. It’s a great night around the league to raise awareness for cancer and I’ve been able to talk to him a little bit,” Ryan Hartman said. “He looks great. He’s been able to broadcast a lot more games than I thought he was going to be able to and it’s good to see him around.”
Coach Joel Quenneville, speaking of the various Hockey Fights Cancer nights around the league, said, “it’s been great moments throughout the month, great reflecting on who it’s touched and the people you’re familiar with who are dealing with it. I think immediately of Edzo. Every game, in each market, everyone has their people. The NHL does a great job of making sure that these type of situations, the awareness and support is there.”