DETROIT (WJBK) - On Wednesday, the Detroit Red Wings will remember Mike Ilitch as mourners continue to wait to say goodbye to the Little Caesar's founder.
The line outside the Fox Theatre stretched underneath the marquee that light up on Woodward. It honored the man who saved not just the theatre, the Wings, or the Tigers - but, according to many, the city.
"I think Mr. Ilitch was the most significant person in Detroit. He was Detroit - he loved Detroit," Dave Scrivano, President, Little Caesars Enterprises, said.
"Everybody gave the Fox up for dead and everybody gave the city up for dead. In that time, people walked away from the Tigers and walked away from the Red Wings and it takes a special person to go in and say 'this is important to me - this is important to the city'," Tom Wilson, President, Olympia Entertainment, said.
Red Wings players were among the many friends, family and strangers who paid respects at Wednesday's public visitation for Ilitch. They gathered inside the historic theatre as the Ilitch family received visitors while a video presentation celebrated the life of Mr. I. With his wife and family by his side, he built an empre from Pizza Pizza to Stanley Cups.
Later on Wednesday, the Wings will honor Ilitch against the St. Louis Blues and will wear a commemorative patch to honor Mr. I.
"He was just such a nice person. Down to earth and he was great - he was good to talk and just a great person," Wings left winger Tomas Tatar said.
"I think the perception was that he was one of the best owners in sports and a great person and I can tell you that played out to be true," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.
Wednesday's visitation goes until 8 p.m. at the historic Fox Theatre.