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Blackhawks announce fill-ins for TV voice Pat Foley as he begins final season with team

The Hawks haven’t selected Foley’s successor, but there’s a chance that person could come from this group of announcers.

Pat Foley and his family are honored before a game April 18, 2013. The Hawks celebrated Foley’s 30th season as the team’s voice.
Pat Foley and his family are honored before a game April 18, 2013. The Hawks celebrated Foley’s 30th season as the team’s voice.
Sun-Times

The Blackhawks haven’t selected a successor for departing TV play-by-play voice Pat Foley, but there’s a chance that person might come from the group of announcers who will fill in for the Hall of Famer this season.

Mike Monaco, Stephen Nelson, Chris Vosters and Hawks radio voice John Wiedeman will be among those occupying Foley’s seat on NBC Sports Chicago broadcasts for select games, the team announced Wednesday. They’ll work with analysts Eddie Olczyk and Colby Cohen, who joined the Hawks’ content team last month.

Wiedeman will call most of the games on WGN Radio with analyst Troy Murray. When Wiedeman is on TV, Alan Fuehring, Joey Zakrzewski and Jason Ross Jr. will be among those filling in. The broadcast schedule will be announced throughout the season.

The Hawks are following the lead of the Bulls, who employed several substitutes for TV voice Neil Funk in 2019-20, his final season before retiring. Adam Amin was among them, and he became the team’s full-time voice last season.

The Hawks also added contributors to the rosters of their broadcast and content teams, including Adam Burish, Caley Chelios, Colin Fraser, Genna Rose, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw. All will appear in various spots, such as TV pregame and postgame shows, podcasts and social media, and some will fill in for Murray, who announced last month that he has cancer.

‘‘We’re always looking to elevate our fan experience to higher levels, and this is just the start of many exciting things coming on all Blackhawks content channels,’’ Hawks president of business Jaime Faulkner said in a statement. ‘‘Fans will get more information, behind-the-scenes access and entertaining content this season.

‘‘We are adding additional experienced and energetic voices to our legendary and popular broadcast booth to further enhance our broadcasts on NBC Sports Chicago and our Blackhawks content channels to showcase the dynamic team we have on the ice.’’

The Hawks announced in June that Foley’s 39th season with the team would be his last. The season will include a yearlong celebration of Foley, culminating with a game night in his honor April 14. Foley, who’s in the last year of his contract, called Hawks games from 1980 to 2006 before a two-season stint with the Wolves of the American Hockey League. He returned to the Hawks in 2008.

‘‘We are always evolving storytelling and content with our live production and pre- and postgame programming to give the viewers the best experience on TV,’’ said John Schippman, vice president of content for NBC Sports Chicago. ‘‘We have been partnering with the Blackhawks since January to develop new elements to this year’s broadcast, and adding top talent was a key first move.’’

Chicago sports viewers might be familiar with some of the fill-in announcers. Monaco filled in for White Sox TV voice Jason Benetti this season when Benetti contracted COVID-19. He has worked at ESPN and has called hockey for the Big Ten Network and Notre Dame, his alma mater.

Nelson works at NHL Network and MLB Network, where he hosts the show ‘‘Intentional Talk.’’ His broadcasting career began with the Hawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, for whom he served as studio host, game analyst and play-by-play voice.

Vosters has worked for BTN, Fox, ESPN, NBC and Stadium. He has called the 2019 NCAA women’s Frozen Four and Big Ten hockey.

On the radio side, Fuehring, a Bradley graduate, is the director of broadcasting and communications for the AHL’s Bridgeport Islanders. Zakrzewski has led the IceHogs’ broadcasts since 2017, and Ross began at ESPN this summer.

Former Hawks Burish, Fraser, Sharp and Shaw highlight the content contributors. Joining them are Chelios, former Hawks defenseman Chris Chelios’ daughter, who has spent the last five seasons as the Lightning’s full-time radio analyst; and Rose, who joins Jon Hansen as the in-arena hosts.