The Waterloo Black Hawks announced that veteran forward Eddie Olczyk has committed to the University of Massachusetts and will begin his freshman season in the fall.
"With Eddie, the numbers don't tell the whole story," said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O'Handley. "During his time in Waterloo, he was a big contributor on special teams, and his experience was an intangible."
Olczyk spent nearly half of his USHL career in Sioux City; the Musketeers dealt him to the Black Hawks in January of 2007. His combined numbers during three years between the two franchises include 152 regular season appearances, 20 goals, and 24 assists. Displaying a knack for scoring big goals, Olczyk netted six career game-winning scores, including the decisive tally in his first Young Arena appearance after being traded to Waterloo, a 4-1 win against Sioux Falls. He added three more goals and three assists in 20 career playoff games.
Olczyk played part of the 2006-2007 season in Sioux City with his younger brother, Tom. His father, Eddie Sr., is the television analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks and regularly appears during network coverage of the National Hockey League on Versus and NBC.
With this commitment, 22 players who appeared for Waterloo in 2008-2009 are committed to college. Sixteen will skate on NCAA rinks during the 2009-2010 season. Last year, Black Hawks alumni Cory Quirk, James Marcou, and Mike Marcou were also members of the UMass Minutemen. James Marcou led UMass in scoring, while Quirk, a senior, signed an American Hockey League try-out contract with the Albany River Rats following the conclusion of the college season.
Three other players who spent the 2008-09 season in the USHL have committed to the University of Massachusetts; Darren Rowe (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Rocco Carzo (Des Moines Buccaneers), and John Parker (Indiana Ice).
A total of 10 USHL alumni were on the roster for the UMass Minutemen this past season; David Boehm (Cedar Rapids), Justin Braun (Green Bay), Danny Hobbs (Columbus), Brian Keane (Chicago), James Marcou (Waterloo), Mike Marcou (Waterloo), Cory Quirk (Waterloo), T.J. Snyer (Indiana), Brett Watson (Tri-City), and Casey Wellman (Cedar Rapids).(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)