An excerpt from my latest Chicago Tribune column.
John Wiedeman didn’t say much Wednesday. It wasn’t because he didn’t have anything to say.
The radio voice of the Blackhawks on WGN-720 knew it was imperative to rest his vocal chords after calling the longest game in franchise history Tuesday night.
“I definitely felt it last night after the game,” Wiedeman said. “I was pounding the water to put out the fire in my throat.”
Wiedeman, though, wouldn’t have it any other way. The playoffs always are the payoff for him and his partner, former Blackhawk center Troy Murray. Their TV counterparts, Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk, get more fanfare and play to larger audiences during the regular season. However, only the first round of the playoffs air on local TV. NBC and NBCSN take over from there. That means Foley is done for the season, and Olczyk gets some, but not of all the Blackhawks playoff games with his network duties.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks’ radio team is on the call for the entire postseason package.
“People ask, ‘Would you rather be on the TV side?’” Murray said. “Yeah, that’s great, but I enjoy doing radio. I feel sorry for Pat not being able to do these games. The fact that John and I get to continue into the postseason makes all the difference in the world.”
Wiedeman truly has savored every moment he’s been with the team. Even though he grew up in Kansas City, he says catching a glimpse of a Blackhawks game on TV during the 1960s started his love affair with hockey. Later, he used to drive up from Kansas City to see Murray and Olczyk play on the Blackhawks teams during the ‘80s.
After calling games for the New York Islanders, Wiedeman jumped at the opportunity when the Blackhawks’ radio job became open prior to the 2006-07 season.
“I always had such a passion for the Blackhawks,” Wiedeman said. “I couldn’t have imagined this would ever happen.”