Red Wings pay tribute to Mike Ilitch at Joe Louis Arena (Video)

Josh Cooper Puck Daddy

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DETROIT, MI - FEBRUARY 15: Danny DeKeyser #65 of the Detroit Red Wings knocks the pucks onto the ice before warm-ups in front of an on ice tribute to ...
Danny DeKeyser #65 of the Detroit Red Wings knocks the pucks onto the ice before warm-ups in front of an on ice tribute to Wings owner Mike Ilitch who passed away February 10, 2017, prior to an NHL game against the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena on February 15, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Getty Images)

A video tribute for Mike Ilitch was one of many ways the Detroit Red Wings players, fans and personnel paid their respects to the former team owner before and during a game at Joe Louis Arena against the St. Louis Blues.

Ilitch died last Friday at the age of 87 and Wednesday’s contest against the Blues was the first home game for the team since his death. Ilitch purchased the Red Wings in 1982 and helped turn the franchise into a dominant force for several years. Under Ilitch’s leadership the Red Wings won four Stanley Cups and made the playoffs for 25 straight years – a streak that is still ongoing.

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Red Wings players and team personnel skipped Wednesday’s morning skate so they could attend a private visitation for Ilitch at the Fox Theater in Detroit. The founder of Little Caesars, Ilitch owned the Detroit Tigers baseball team as well and was considered one of the more charitable souls in the Detroit area. Recently it was reported that he had paid the rent for civil rights activist Rosa Parks for several years.

“I just think that having had a chance to be there today and I was actually there last night, the visitation, prayer service, and I think for our team, even as we were waiting this morning, you see everything that Mr. Ilitch did for this organization and this city and state there’s no question our players always play very hard for our ownership,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said according to MLive. “They have an affinity for ownership, they know what special owners we have. Certainly, that’s magnified today.”

A logo that said “Mr. I” was painted onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena. Also a patch that said “Mr. I” was put on the sleeves of the Red Wings players.

In the arena, there was a board where fans could write special messages about Ilitch.

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The Red Wings couldn’t get the win on the emotional night, losing 2-0 to the St. Louis Blues. It was their fifth-straight loss, which dropped them down to 22-25-10 on the season.

“It seems like when we are scoring a lot of goals, the teams that we play score a lot of goals,” Henrik Zetterberg said according to the Detroit Free Press. “When we are not scoring a lot of goals, they are not scoring a lot of goals, but they are scoring one more than us.

“There are things that can get better. We are working on it. We’ve got to keep working.”

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!






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