17 February, 2017
When you see some of his quotes and read some of his quotes, you can really feel the passion that he had for the city of Detroit.
Ilitch's generosity extended far beyond his sports teams, however.
The Blues almost took a 2-0 lead late in the second period when Paajarvi broke through the Red Wings defense, but Mrazek jammed his pads together to keep the puck out of the five-hole.
It's fitting that the Ilitch family would hold the public visitation in the theatre that Ilitch and his wife Marian beautifully restored.
"It has to be said that Mike Ilitch was starting to [revitalize Detroit] long before anybody else did", Lessenberry said. He never forget where he came from and could relate to everybody.
Draper said he's not sure whether other National Hockey League players experience that.
The Red Wings didn't hold a morning skate so team members and staff could attend a visitation.
Maltby said the montage at the memorial was unbelievable.
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"This man was incredibly generous", explained Red Wings announcer Mickey Redmond.
ABOUT THE BLUES (29-22-5): Patrik Berglund was on pace for a career-low goal total after scoring only once in his first 30 games. "You could tell he was just happy". Speaking with CNN, Keith credited that to Ilitch and his family. "This is just the beginning. On the other hand, a lot of people raised eyebrows at his insistence on taxpayer support of his stadium projects".
The Ilitches donated millions to Detroit's Wayne State University and invested in Little Caesars Arena, the future home of the Detroit Red Wings as well.
"He talked like he was your buddy, he talked like he was your friend", Maltby said.
"Think of the largest idea you can and go from there", said Allison, a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. It wasn't just us players, it was anybody.
Among those paying homage to Ilitch was former President George W. Bush who called the founder and owner of the Little Caesars pizza restaurant chain "a self-made man with talent, drive, and a huge heart".
Days after his passing, an article by the Sports Business Daily (published three years ago) has resurfaced about his generosity in Detroit.