The 2021-22 season will be the last for Blackhawks broadcaster Pat Foley, the team announced Wednesday morning.
The Hall of Fame play-by-play man’s contract expires at the end of next season, his 39th with the team.
“Listening to the great Lloyd Pettit fostered a love for the Chicago Blackhawks and broadcasting at an early age,” Foley said in a statement. “To follow in his footsteps and broadcast for the team for nearly 40 years is a dream come true for a Chicago native,”
Foley will call part of the upcoming season on NBC Sports Chicago while grooming his successor. The team said it is currently searching for a new play-by-play broadcaster.
“I have had conversations with the Blackhawks about my future, and because I cannot guarantee that I would like to continue beyond the length of my contract that ends after next season, they must look ahead,” Foley added. “I support and respect their plan to transition the broadcast booth.”
“Pat Foley has been synonymous with Chicago Blackhawks hockey for well over a generation,” Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement. “We are thankful for the memories Pat has created for our fans through the years and he will continue to be a part of the Blackhawks family. We are excited to begin this search for a new television play-by-play broadcaster who will create Blackhawks memories for the next generation of fans.”
Foley’s return to the Hawks’ broadcast booth in 2008 — after his initial run from 1980 to 2006 ended due to a strained relationship with management at the time — helped rejuvenate fan interest and support right before the Stanley Cup dynasty era.
Accompanied by color commentator Eddie Olczyk throughout his second tenure, Foley’s raspy voice, quick delivery, lighthearted style and banter with Olczyk have been signature sounds in Chicago households.
“Pat Foley is not just a legendary broadcaster and great partner in the booth, but I’m proud to say he is an even better friend,” Olczyk said in a statement. “Two Chicago guys calling Blackhawks hockey for the past 15 years has been a dream come true for me.”
Foley received Emmy awards for achievements in sports broadcasting in 1991, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and received the Hockey Hall of Fame Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster in 2014.
But two missteps in recent seasons — one a racially insensitive comment about Eisbaren Berlin forward Austin Ortega, the other a joke about suicide during the Hawks’ final game in May — landed Foley in hot water and required apologies on air.