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Like father, like son

by Mike G. Morreale

DALLAS -- In a span of four months, not only did Ed Olczyk learn he would be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame alongside Mike Modano and Lou Lamoriello, but that his son Tommy would captain the ice hockey team at Penn State University in 2012-13.

When Tommy got word that dad was the newest inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, he was obviously filled with pride. He took the time to talk about his father with on Monday prior to the ceremony this evening at the Plaza of the Americas Atrium in downtown Dallas.

"It was awesome," he told "We were already so proud of him and all his accomplishments. Away from hockey, he's a great person and I've never had a better role model. He's such an ambassador for the game of hockey and I really couldn't ask for anyone better to look up to."

Those words of wisdom and advice from dad will certainly come in handy now with Tommy donning the captain's 'C' on his jersey. The Nittany Lions play an independent schedule this season before becoming the newest member of the powerful Big Ten hockey conference in 2013-14.

"It's not all on-ice stuff," Tommy Olczyk said. "You have to lead the right way on the ice and off the ice. You have to go out and compete your butt off, work hard and play with an edge but respect the game. You can't be throwing cheap shots … it works the same in the real world. You have to be nice to people and can't take things for granted. You have to appreciate every moment on and off the ice."

Olczyk said that he was notified he would captain the team before the first practice earlier this month. He called his father after the two-hour session, but because word spread so quickly, the secret was already out.

"He got a bunch of texts while I was on the ice [at practice] and he knew by the time I called him and he was proud," Tommy Olczyk said.

Tommy played four seasons with the Sioux City Musketeers in the United States Hockey League before joining Penn State's club team in 2011-12, producing 24 goals and 52 points in 31 games. Tickets to Penn State home games at Greenberg Ice Pavillion have certainly been hard to come by and won't come any easier next season when the 6,000-seat Pegula Ice Arena is open for business.

In 2010-11, Tommy garnered the USHL's Curt Hammer Award, which is presented to that player who distinguishes himself both on and off the ice by demonstrating outstanding performance skills, pride and determination.

Back in June, the 5-foot-8, 184-pound Olczyk joined his older brother, Eddie, at Carolina Hurricanes' rookie conditioning camp. Eddie is currently a senior at the University of Massachusetts.

Ed Olczyk, who played in the NHL for 16 seasons and joins Mike Modano and Lou Lamoriello as part of the 2012 U.S. Hall of Fame class, is excited Eddie will have an opportunity to play at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center and Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center as a member of Penn State this season. After all, Olczyk is a former player and coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tommy has special memories being on the road with dad.

"There was one time, when he was announcing for the Penguins, when he took me with him on a road trip in Minnesota," he said. "I helped work the locker room during the game with the equipment staff. I'm not sure how much I actually did, but it was really special because just going on a road trip with my dad was great."

Follow Mike Morreale at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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