Christopher Ilitch called today a “celebration of the city of Detroit, the region, the state of Michigan.”
The president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings also called it a “celebration to mark the launch of a sports and entertainment district in our city that will excite our fans and guests, and add so much to the fabric of our community.”
Ilitch was, of course, talking about the future $450 million downtown home of the Red Wings that broke ground today in Detroit.
The new arena, to be surrounded by a $200 million entertainment district, is set to open in the summer of 2017, in time for the 2017-18 NHL season.
A new downtown home for the Wings had been the subject of speculation for years before the plan was finally approved. The team’s present home, Joe Louis Arena, opened in 1979.
“We look forward to it,” said Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, per The Detroit News. “It’s pretty cool. The arena itself will be amazing, just everything surrounding it. Obviously we’ll be excited to go.
“But at the same time, we’ll miss this place.”