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On This Date in 1982: Mike Ilitch buys Detroit Red Wings for $8 million

The Detroit Red Wings were simply known as “The Dead Things” after years of being at the top of the National Hockey League. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Red Wings hardly resembled the teams that featured talents such as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Terry Sawchuk and Sid Abel.

All of that began to change on June 22, 1982.

Little Caesars Pizza founders Mike and Marian Ilitch officially purchased the Red Wings from the Norris Family for a grand total of $8 million (as of December 2019, the team was worth $800 million). In today’s money, $8 million in 1982 translates to around $20 million today.

And we all know what happened next. While it didn’t happen overnight, the Ilitch family began to transform the Red Wings into a winner, beginning with the hiring of former New York Islanders assistant GM Jim Devellano and the subsequent drafting of a young Steve Yzerman in 1983.

What followed were strong drafts that saw the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, Vladimir Konstantinov, Chris Osgood, Slava Kozlov, and others arrive in the Motor City. Four Stanley Cup championships with an additional two Stanley Cup Finals appearances as well as producing some of the greatest players the NHL has ever known all came after the purchase of the team by the Ilitch family.

We’re certainly grateful for Mike and Marian Ilitch, without whom Detroit never would have become Hockeytown!

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Michael Whitaker
Michael Whitaker
Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

Detroit Lions Most-Dangerous Off-Season Addition

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