Eddie Olczyk already bounces back and forth during the spring between the NHL playoffs and horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Now he’s adding a new stop on his pucks and ponies tour.
Olczyk will go from the broadcast booth at Boston’s TD Garden for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final to Ascot Racecourse in England to work his first Royal Ascot. He and fellow Americans Britney Eurton and Dylan Dreyer will join British broadcaster Nick Luck for the NBC Sports telecast of the horse racing festival, which runs from June 18-22.
“It is their biggest stage, you could argue, across the pond,” Olczyk told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I’ll get fitted for my tails and my top hat and get to work on Friday and Saturday.”
Olczyk isn’t worried about Royal Ascot’s dress code. Men at Royal Ascot are required to wear a waistcoat and tie, black shoes and a black or grey top hat, and women have even more old-fashioned guidelines.
“The last time that I had tails on might’ve been at a wedding that I stood up in probably back in the mid-’80s,” Olczyk said. “It’s not still in the closet. We’ll get fitted over there and hopefully be able to fit right in.”
Olczyk is in his fifth year doing horse racing for NBC — and 13th at the Stanley Cup Final — but he’s still nervous about the unfamiliarity of his next adventure.
“There’s always the nerves of the unknown,” Olczyk said. “Handicapping races over there is in every sense of the word foreign compared to how I do it or how we do it over here, so that’ll be kind of a learning curve.”
It’s a long way but a short turnaround from his seat next to Mike “Doc” Emrick for the St. Louis Blues-Boston Bruins Game 7 on Wednesday night to the glistening track about an hour outside London. But the hockey and horse racing mix has always been part of Olczyk’s life since childhood, and he’s thrilled to give up some days off to keep this roll going.
“There’s just so many things to appreciate about both,” Olczyk said. “I think the thing that I’ve always been drawn to is the practices, the training sessions in the morning and I find they’re on the same playing field when I get the chance to do both.”