Pistons, Lions react to the death of Mike Ilitch

The Ilitch family will still be a powerful force in the city, even after their patriarch's death. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized just how much I owe to Mr. Ilitch, so I wanted to take a little time to say thanks and share another perspective on his impact. According to his family, the owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings died at the hospital, but no other details were provided. Little Caesars was the crown jewel of youth hockey for the entirety of my youth and still is in a lot of cases today. "Pizza!" two-for-one deals. Ilitch was also the owner of the Detroit Red Wings, in addition to having co-founded the fast food restaurant chain, Little Caesar's. Once a powerhouse with names like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Terry Sawchuk, the franchise was struggling. The impact that he had on hockey in the USA and certainly hockey in the state of MI to make MI one of the best states in hockey, I think is incredible. "He knew things that were going to happen, I think". But under Ilitch's stewardship they won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998 as well as in 2002 and 2008.

Blashill on growing up in MI: "I can tell you as a young kid growing up, the impact that Mr. Ilitch had on youth hockey in the state of MI". In 1992, he bought the Tigers from fellow pizza magnate Tom Monaghan. "Not the last time around, not 15 years ago with Comerica [Park]". With big names like Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Victor Martinez on the roster, Ilitch leaves the Tigers in great hands.

Without Ilitch's hunger to win and willingness to pour millions into the team, the idea of calling Detroit "Hockeytown" would have been laughable. He moved his corporate headquarters from suburban Farmington Hills into the 10-story building that contains the Fox. But he started from scratch - a kid born to immigrant parents who started a pizzeria with his wife, Marian, in 1959. He was an all-city athlete in baseball and track at Cooley High School, served four years in the Marines, then signed with the Tigers' minor league system, but his career on the field ended after a few seasons when he incurred a knee injury.