The Chicago Blackhawks will distribute $25,000 in grants to winners of the inaugural ‘Eddie Olczyk Award’, created to support and offset the financial burden of young hockey players and teams in Illinois that may not have the means to play at a competitive level.
The $25,000 was raised from Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Summer Camps and will go back to local youth hockey associations and high school programs. Eddie Olczyk will personally be notifying all recipients by phone in the coming days.
“I’m honored to be a part of a program to grow the game of hockey in Chicago, the city that raised me as a player, and the community that I’m a part of every day as a father, a coach and a broadcaster” said Olczyk. “I’m humbled and thankful that John McDonough and Jay Blunk thought to include me in this initiative to extend opportunities in the game to those that may otherwise not be able to participate.”
The Eddie Olczyk Award, announced in October, was established to issue grants to individuals and families in need of assistance for participation in an Illinois sanctioned team or organization, sanctioned teams in need of assistance for tournament expenses and AHAI (Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois) organizations in need of assistance to run programs which increase the participation in, and quality of, youth hockey.
A native of Palos Heights, Illinois, Olczyk is now in his sixth season as the television analyst for Blackhawks hockey on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN Channel 9. He also serves as the Head Instructor at the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Camps and is dedicated to the development and growth of youth hockey in Illinois. A veteran of 16 National Hockey League seasons, Olczyk began his career as an 18-year old with his hometown Blackhawks in 1984-85 after being chosen with the third overall selection of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Olczyk recorded 77 goals and 209 points in 322 regular-season tilts over five seasons with Chicago (1984-87, 1998-00) and tallied 13 points (7G, 6A) in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff tilts with the Blackhawks.
Over the course of 1,031 regular-season games he scored 342 goals and recorded 794 points with Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Winnipeg, the New York Rangers and Los Angeles, winning a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994, and was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. Olczyk also serves as the lead television analyst for NHL national broadcasts on NBC and Versus.