Marian, Mike and Denise Ilitch at Joe Louis Arena. (credit: Denise Ilitch)

By CBS Detroit

Denise Ilitch talked about the imprint of “The Joe” on Detroit as she recalled when her family purchased the Detroit Red Wings and Joe Louis served as its new home.

She described how very different it was.

“We were known as the ‘Dead Wings,'” she said. “Each of us was calling our season ticket holders and asking if they’d considering coming back the next season. Michael (her brother and father’s name sake) was the only one who got returned calls.”

Chris Holman, Denise Ilitch, Ric DeVore & Carol Cain talk about the Joe, the Palace and United Airlines on “Michigan Matters.” (credit: Charles Pena/CBS 62)

Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Enterprises, appeared on “Michigan Matters” along with Ric DeVore, Regional President of PNC Bank, Chris Holman, CEO of Michigan Business Network, and Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host of CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters.”

The Red Wings will play in the newly built Little Caesars Arena next season where the Detroit Pistons will also move and play this season too.

Ilitch said she is looking forward to the moves.

It’s the latest transition for the well-known family — which is as close to royalty in Detroit as there is — following the passing or Mr. Ilitch several weeks ago.

A video created by Detroit Free Press also aired on the program showing what it considered the Top 20 moments of “The Joe’s” illustrious history which is so intertwined with Detroit.

Besides pictures showing the Stanley Cup wins, there were snapshots of Prince as he debut his Purple Rain tour, skater Nancy Kerrigan crying after getting bopped in the knee by Tonya Harding supporters during Olympic tryouts, Gerald Ford at National GOP Convention, and more.

“I love that picture,” she said as one showed a beaming “Mr I” raising the Stanley Cup over his head when the Red Wings won their first championship. They won three under his watch.

“I think that’s the happiest I ever saw him,” she said. “Even more than the birth of his kids, or grandkids” she said with a laugh.

Chris Holman talked how he used to skate with Gordie Howe and others Red Wings a few decades ago when he participated in celebrity hockey games.

Ric DeVore, Regional President PNC Bank with Carol Cain discusses helping teachers in Michigan. Watch “Michigan Matters” 11:30 on CBS 62. (credit: Charles Pena/CBS 62)

Ric DeVore also discussed memories of the Palace. PNC has been a presenting sponsor of the Pistons.

He too is looking forward to the pending move to the new arena. He talked about the impressive suites at Little Caesars Arena which are world-class.

Holman, who has been to China 26 times, is leaving next week for a business trip touting Lansing where he is based.

He’s talked about the importance of two-way economic bridges to the Lansing area.

DeVore also discussed PNC’s innovative online program to support teachers in pre-k and headstart programs raise money for supplies they may need. is working with PNC in the effort.

You can hear more by watching “Michigan Matters” 11:30 Sunday on CBS 62.


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