Blackhawks

As Eddie Olczyk battles, Hockey Fights Cancer hits home for Blackhawks

As Eddie Olczyk battles, Hockey Fights Cancer hits home for Blackhawks

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.”

Blackhawks' Alex Nylander and brother William providing meals for essential workers

Blackhawks' Alex Nylander and brother William providing meals for essential workers

During this time of a global pandemic where healthcare workers risk their well-being to keep us safe, and essential works do the same to keep business operating, many teams and athletes have stepped up to do their part and assist their local heroes. Count the Nylander brothers, Alex of the Blackhawks and William of the Maple Leafs, as the latest to chip in for the cause.

Alex and William have partnered up with local restaurants of Stockholm and Toronto to help feed frontline workers and those in need.



“We have partnered with some of our favorite restaurants so that healthy meals can be prepared and delivered to frontline heroes and others in need,” said William. “In Chicago, we are supporting local food banks," added Alex.

As Alex and William both prepare for the NHL’s postseason, the brothers hope to continue to provide and deliver meals to frontline workers and those in need while bringing awareness to COVID-19 in the process.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan skating in Ottawa a positive sign for Hawks

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan skating in Ottawa a positive sign for Hawks

The NHL has yet to formally enter Phase 2 of their Return To Play protocol, where players can take part in voluntary practices and workouts in small groups at team facilities, but with gradual reopenings across North America, players are slowly ramping up on-ice activities if rinks are allowing them to. 

One of the players that could give the Blackhawks a boost in the 24-team format is Calvin de Haan, who has returned to on-ice activity in Ottawa.

 

de Haan is a native of Carp, Ontario, just outside of Ottawa, and took to the ice just a couple days after the NHL announced its Return To Play plan officially. The 29-year old defenseman was placed on long-term injured reserve after sustaining another shoulder injury in December, forcing him to miss the remainder of the regular season. 



de Haan skated along with Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci and Riley Brace, who plays professionally in Switzerland. Earlier in the day, Flyers star Claude Giroux also took the ice at the Minto Skating Centre in Ottawa. 

Related: What Blackhawks' roster could look like vs. Oilers

The NHL hopes to officially enter Phase 2 in early June while reports say the NHL will not begin Phase 3 of the Return To Play plan until at least July 10.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.