DETROIT (CBS Detroit) It will be a big night for the Detroit Red Wings as a jersey retirement ceremony gets under way for Nick Lidstrom.

Thousands will be there; one, notably, will not.

Team owner Mike Ilitch, 84, released a statement explaining that he will not be in attendance.

Once a regular figure at just about every important event for the Tigers and Red Wings, Ilitch has been largely absent, even as his Olympic Development works on a deal for a new stadium for the Wings.

This is the first time he’s listed a reason for his absence, saying a “medical procedure” is to blame.

“While Marian and I would love to be there, we won’t be at tomorrow’s jersey retirement for Nick Lidstrom. This past year, I had a medical procedure that has kept me out of the spotlight for awhile. I feel much better now, and I’m stronger every day. While we may not attend every event, we never miss a game on TV and are very involved in all our businesses every day from home and the office.

“We want to congratulate Nick, his wife Annika, and their family on this honor. He’s very deserving and we’re so proud and fortunate to have had him as a part of the Red Wings family for more than 20 years. We thank him with all our hearts.”

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