On February tenth, residents and sports fans of Detroit lost a true pillar of their community. Mike Ilitch, owner of Little Caesar’s Corporation and subsequent owner of Detroit Tigers Baseball, Detroit Red Wings Hockey, and Ilitch Holdings, has passed away, leaving behind a long life of philanthropic achievements. People all over southeast Michigan, including the Shorian Nation will dearly miss “Mr. I”.
Ilitch has been widely recognized for his greatness as a sports owner and a philanthropist. With the help of Dave Dombrowski, his general manager, Ilitch constructed franchises that played the game in an unprecedented way. “The ‘96 through the ‘02 Red Wings were incredible, it’s rare that a franchise is so stacked with talent.” says sports fan and Senior, Jacob Houth.
Ilitch never spared an expense when it came to his teams, but he was also generous with his profits. “Not only has no other owner of a sports team been more invested in his community, he was fantastic at giving his teams the tools they needed to win. His checkbook was open and he didn’t micromanage” says Math teacher Chris Mantela.
As Mantela mentioned, Ilitch Holdings has a storied history of charity. “Ilitch gave incredibly large donations to Wayne state, he also helped Rosa Parks during the Civil Rights movement.” says Mantela. Houth adds “Ever since Ilitch died, so many charitable things that he did have come out, he was very humble, [he] wasn’t looking for recognition.”
Mike Ilitch was a great man. Not only did he bring magic to Comerica Park and Joe Louis Arena, he made his home a genuinely better place. There is a hole in the heart of Detroit following his passing. Mickale Mckithen, senior, sums up the feelings of most fans saying “Mike Ilitch was the G.O.A.T, Rest in peace, go tigers!”