CHICAGO – From her seats just below the radio booth at the United Center, Katrina Vlasich has become a friend of the WGN broadcast team.
When analyst Troy Murray revealed he was battling cancer, she decided to become a captain of ‘Team Murray.’ Vlasich helped personally produce the equipment, if you will, and offered it free of charge to anyone who wanted to join as long as they shared that support of Troy on social media because she knew how much gestures can make a difference to those in the battle.
“I think it was 2019, my friend Nina came here. She went up to the booth and you guys stood up and clapped for her,” explained Vlasich. “You guys literally made her, as she put it, feel like a princess. That stuck with me from that night – how amazing you guys are and Troy is with the fans. In a way it was me trying to say the fans also appreciate him as much as he appreciates the fans.”
The requests to join Team Murray ran from Troy’s fans to media members across all sports.
“When I kept getting asked about it. ‘Can we give? Can we give?’ I would say, ‘Give to the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni Association or Hockey Fights Cancer if you really felt like it. But, you didn’t need to do it to get one.”
Troy, of course, isn’t alone.
Sunday’s purple carpet event for Hockey Fights Cancer Night honored fans currently battling cancer, in remission, or walking in memory of a loved one lost to the disease. ‘I Fight For’ signs were distributed and T-shirts supporting Troy’s fight were sold. It’s a night of incredible support that a fellow broadcaster and linemate understands personally.
“It’s inspiring,” noted cancer survivor and Blackhawks TV analyst Eddie Olczyk. “You have enough time to last you a lifetime when you’re going through the battle. When you have that support and love of the franchise and of the fanbase, it helps kill the clock. It helps pass the time a little bit. For me and my family, we’ll be forever grateful for the Blackhawk fans and how they treated me when I was at my lowest. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay them, but it’s nice to be able to acknowledge and thank them, hard to believe, four years later.
That love and support was never more evident than when Troy himself was joined by a Niles teenager in remission for the ceremonial pregame puck drop.
Among those cheering – a fan who, with Troy’s blessing has formed Team Murray, letting him know they’re behind his fight and can’t wait to hear him back in the booth like Eddie Olczyk did after the biggest win of his life.
Fans interested in ordering a #TeamMurray wristband can contact Katrina via her twitter handle @TR1N1TY3 or a dedicated email she just formed firstname.lastname@example.org.