Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Thank You Mike Ilitch

from John Paul Morosi of FoxSports,

On New Year's Day, more than 100,000 people are expected to gather at America's largest football stadium to watch a hockey game. It will be a spectacle, because of the setting (Michigan Stadium), the ancient rivals (the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs), the prospect of a world-record crowd, the sheer curiosity in the sports version of a hey-wouldn't-this-be-cool 1 a.m. barstool conversation coming to fruition.

The event is many things: a marketing bonanza for the NHL, a hockey diversion on a football day, a Snow Bowl quagmire if it turns out that Mother Nature is an Ohio State fan. But the Winter Classic also is the latest triumph for one of the greatest American sports owners of all time.

Without Mike Ilitch, the Red Wings would not have won the Stanley Cup four times since 1997 while building the longest active streak of postseason appearances (22 years) in major North American professional sports. Without Mike Ilitch, the Tigers would not boast a large-market payroll while accounting for three MVPs, two Cy Young Awards and one World Series appearance in the past three years.

Without Mike Ilitch, Detroit (and, in this case, Ann Arbor) would not have the cachet to host a marquee event like the Winter Classic.

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About The Malik Report

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.