Crain’s Detroit Business Awards The Ilitch Clan

DETROIT — Crain’s Detroit Business, a publication spewed out by Crain Communications, a local publishing conglomerate, honored Christopher and Mike Ilitch at MotorCity Casino on Tuesday, February 9th. Mike the Pizza King behind Little Caesers couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict. However, Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings was there, speaking at some length about the new, yet-to-be-named ice arena replacing The Joe in Autumn 2017. I asked him at the press conference before the newsmaker event what “it” will be named. He said an announcement will be forthcoming in a month or two. Outside the casino, a group of Black Lives Matter protesters was kept away from the entrance by the Detroit Police Department. They were there due to the Governor being slated for an award.

After the “Crain’s Newsmaker of the Year” event, I ran into former Red Wings forwards Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper, telling them I like the old school name “Olympia” for the new arena. Kirk quickly looked at me with a degree of respect, seeming to like the idea. “They still have the old sign. They could put it back up,” he said, paraphrasing. I added a bit of meat to my statement, “Madison Square Garden is always Madison Square Garden.” The first Madison Square Garden opened in 1879. NYC is on their fourth one. Man, those two guys could play. I threw an octopus on MSG’s ice back in December 1992 when Yzerman tied up a game against the Rangers. We lost the game, anyway. Boo hoo! LOL!

While the father-son duo were the leading Newsmakers of 2015, what with the new arena and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at WSU, there were also nine other Top Newsmakers of 2015, most notably (Sorry, Dan Gilbert) Governor Rick Snyder, who’s been slipping in the polls lately due to the Flint Water Crisis. (Killing the Michigan movie industry didn’t seem to hurt him too badly….) Rick must’ve been sick. He was a no-show, as well.

Ironically, Fiji water was served at the event. No Detroit city water at MotorCity Casino. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve lived in Detroit, Ann Arbor, L.A., San Francisco, Lansing, NYC, and Portland, Oregon, where a man was recently caught urinating in the public water supply. I don’t trust pipes that predate the dinosaurs. Give me spring water, or give me Coke! (My apologies to Patrick Henry and Pepsi!)

Christopher Ilitch addresses the press as Mary Kramer, Publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, looks on. (Mike Wrathell/


The Victoria Cougars, after winning the Stanley Cup in 1925, moved to playing in Olympia as the Detroit Cougars, then the Detroit Falcons, and, finally, the Detroit Red Wings. Olympia was their home from 1927 to 1980. (


Fiji Water was served by wait staff at the Crain’s Detroit Business event honoring Christopher and Mike Ilitch, Governor Rick Snyder (who didn’t show up), and eight other Michiganders, some of whom did show up at MotorCity Casino. It was served flat, like in the movie Kiss of the Dragon. (Mike Wrathell/


There was lots of water from Fiji at the event. It’s actually pretty close to Detroit’s indigenous water supply. You just have to drill through the center of the Earth to tap into it. (Mike Wrathell/


There was cheesecake for dessert. (Mike Wrathell/


MotorCity Casino has some slot machines with the likeness of Vlad “The Impaler” Dracula on them. The real-life Dracula ruled over Wallachia and Transylvania (Present-day Romania) long enough to save Europe from the Ottoman Empire’s expansionist plans. (Mike Wrathell/

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories

1 Comment

Comments are closed.