BEMIDJI -- Eddie Olczyk is making the jump from Bemidji State to the NHL’s newest franchise.
After four seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Beavers, Olczyk is departing the program to join the Seattle Kraken as an amateur scout. The Kraken are set to join the NHL as the league’s 32nd franchise in 2021-22.
“I was drawn to being on the ground floor of an expansion franchise,” Olczyk told the Kraken’s website. “I look forward to learning and growing from Ron and Ricky (Olczyk, assistant GM and Eddie’s uncle) and the whole staff. I intend to be a sponge.”
“It’s an awesome opportunity. I’m really happy for Eddie,” BSU head coach Tom Serratore told the Pioneer. “What an opportunity to start from the ground floor with an expansion franchise. He’s going to be part of that whole staff -- the scouting staff, the management staff -- of really creating that team from scratch.”
Olczyk, 31, will soon join Seattle and help the front office prepare for the expansion draft and NHL Entry Draft as the Kraken begin work on crafting their brand-new team.
“First I have to thank Tom for entrusting me with a role in this storied program alongside both he and (assistant coach) Travis (Winter),” Olczyk said in a BSU release. “I have had other stops in my coaching career, but as a part of this staff I have gained a greater understanding of the attributes to look for in a player and how to better evaluate them. I’ve also learned to see the game from a different perspective and the true definition of work ethic. Those skills have afforded me the opportunity to move on and help build an NHL expansion franchise from the ground up.”
Arriving at BSU prior to the 2016-17 season, the Beavers won their first Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season title in Olczyk’s first year on the staff. Bemidji State has compiled an overall record of 75-57-22 during Olczyk’s four years, and seven players who were either his recruits or members of his forward group have earned All-WCHA honors.
“I want to thank the Bemidji community for welcoming us with open arms four years ago,” said Olczyk, whose father is a longtime NBC broadcaster and Stanley Cup champion as a player. “I am really going to miss working with our players on a daily basis. The level of dedication the guys have to this program, the amount of work they put in, and watching them grow and succeed make this job so rewarding. I also want to thank our athletic training, equipment and strength and conditioning staffs as well as all the others who work hard behind the scenes at Sanford Center and on campus to make Beaver Hockey a success. The support behind this program is something I will not forget.”
“I’m going to really miss Eddie. He provided so much for us,” Serratore added. “He’s a world-class person, he’s got an unbelievable work ethic and he’s going to go far in the game of hockey.”
Details are being finalized to secure Olczyk’s replacement, according to the BSU release. The announcement of the addition to the Beaver coaching staff is expected within the week.