Cue the voice of Pat Foley in your head.
“He shoots, he scores!!!! Hawks win! Hawks win!”
As a child of Chicago’s south suburbs I was raised to love and cherish that phrase as well as anything else that came from the voice of Pat Foley. For nearly 30 years, Foley has been calling Chicago Blackhawks games on television and for a number of years simulcasting on radio. During his tenure famous former Hawks players such as Dale Tallon, Bill Gardner, Steve Konroyd, and most notably Ed Olczyk have manned the booth.
The pairing of Pat Foley and “Edzo” or “Eddie-O” appeared to be heading for regional stardom and near the top of the list of hockey broadcasters in the NHL. The past two seasons have all but erased any good Olczyk has contributed to broadcasts, and Foley has become a shell of the announcer known league-wide as the local boy living his dream of calling the Blackhawks.
Pat Foley, 59, has lost his ability to articulate and call a game as it happens. Mispronunciations, mistaken identity of well-known players, and a new found penchant for horrible catchphrases make majority of broadcasts unbearable to listen to.
Olczyk, 47, is known as much, if not more for his broadcasting career than his playing career. The U.S. Hockey Hall-of-Famer won one Stanley Cup Championship with the New York Rangers, but most fans today under 25 probably do not know that. They know Eddie for his shtick quotes and pointing out teaching moments for youth players by saying “For all you young hockey players out there.” Writing that just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.
Broadcasts have turned into interrogations of opposing players, butt-kissing campaigns for Blackhawks individual player award campaigns (Duncan Keith can do no wrong), and the nightly announcement that there’s “Tree Turdy Tree!” left in the period. The former great Pat Foley even has his own parody account on Twitter capturing his inane sayings and absurd calls. Some have even speculated that Olczyk may be trying to butter the Wirtz family roll with the hopes that he could be the future head coach of his hometown team.
Whatever the cause or causes that have led to the demise of the Chicago Blackhawks broadcast, it has to stop or changes have to be considered down the road. We all know team president John McDonough loves to dictate what is said and how the Hawks organization is perceived by the public. Does the former Cubs front office man have his hands up the suit coats of his announcer(s) during TV broadcasts?
Is he tying the hands of the previously well-spoken Pat Foley?
I went to school for broadcasting with the intent of being the person to fill the enormous shoes of Pat Foley. The closer I get to those shoes, the smaller they appear to be.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @skcih_ffej for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season, and does weekly podcasts, as well.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks