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Gary Bettman on Mike Ilitch: ‘Red Wings have lost the consummate owner’

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman refers to Mike Ilitch as a Detroit sports legend as he reflects on the passing of the Red Wings' and Tigers' owner.

The sports world is mourning the death Mike Ilitch, the long-time owner of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, on Friday evening.

As support to the Ilitch family and the Red Wings organization poured in from all over, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also released the following statement regarding on the death of Ilitch.

“With the passing of Mike Ilitch, the Red Wings have lost the consummate owner, the National Hockey League has lost a cherished friend and passionate builder, Detroit sports has lost a legend, and the city of Detroit has lost not only a devoted native son but a visionary and driving force in the rebirth of downtown.Mike’s commitment to excellence and to winning were unparalleled, and his commitment to the community was unrivaled, as was his boundless support of youth hockey. He was a prolific philanthropist, and, above all, a devoted partner and husband to his wife of 62 years, Marian. At this moment of heartbreaking sorrow, we send deepest condolences to the entire Ilitch family and to all who were privileged to know him, play for him or work for him.”

Ilitch purchased the Red Wings since 1982 and owned the team during their past four Stanley Cup championships, including the 1997-98 title that ended a 43-year championship drought for the organization.

More: Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch dies at 87