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A Recent Interview With Mike & Marian Ilitch

from Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Journal,

At age 84, Ilitch is as emotionally and financially vested in his teams as ever, but he has begun to maintain a lower profile. He rarely gives interviews these days, and some of his children have assumed part of the leadership responsibilities of the teams. But on a recent morning in Boca Raton, Fla., Ilitch and his wife, Marian, welcomed a reporter into their winter home. Over the course of 90 minutes, Mike shared his memories of building the family pizza business, realizing a dream by owning the Red Wings and then the Tigers, and keeping a civic commitment to his beloved Detroit.

Marian, who first met Mike 60 years ago on a blind date and married him a year later, also participated in the conversation. It was easy to see how they have enjoyed a true partnership across family and business for so long. Here are their thoughts on the life and career of Mike Ilitch …

Detroit, his home

MIKE: I look at me and Detroit as one. The city is like a family member to me. I got sick and tired of people saying to me that Detroit wasn’t special. When I’d tell people that I was from Detroit, they’d look at me like they felt sorry for me. I decided I was going to do everything possible so that one day everyone would view Detroit as a great city.


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wolverine's avatar

Really good article…worth the read.  Lots of history here.  Seems like a great guy.

Posted by wolverine on 02/24/14 at 04:27 PM ET

gowings's avatar

I second that, a really good article and some interesting stuff about how we got some players!!!

Posted by gowings from MTL on 02/24/14 at 04:32 PM ET

Chet's avatar

I see two people have already beaten me to what I was going to say…


Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 02/24/14 at 04:55 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Mike Ilitch is a great man.  The quintessential sports team owner. 
Thanks, Mike!

Posted by w2j2 on 02/24/14 at 05:07 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Very impressive article – as an article should be when it’s about a very impressive couple. They’re lucky to have one another. And we’re equally lucky to have both of them as the owners of the Wings and the Tigers.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/24/14 at 06:35 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Great read, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 02/24/14 at 08:08 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Excellent read…except for this part:

“He’s the consummate team owner,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “To me, Mike has been a mentor, a counselor and a friend.”

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/25/14 at 01:45 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Haha, the Klima story about his girlfriend coming with him I didn’t know. What a horndog tongue wink

Great man but miss Tiger Stadium and river front a better location new NHL arena but him lumping all his properties in one small area is his vision/money.  Rather see Detroit’s sports teams locations spread out to help support more areas of the city.


Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 02/25/14 at 03:35 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Man, talk about “power couple”. 

I think a lot of people (myself included) have figured that his health is so poor he hardly goes out anymore.  It’s nice to see this interview though, and it sounds like he is in good mental health - probably just not getting around much these days.

Posted by TreKronor on 02/25/14 at 03:57 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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