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Ilitches 'extremely sorry,' thank fans for support

3/15/2005 - Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT -- The owners of the Detroit Red Wings apologized in full-page newspaper ads for the loss of the NHL season.

In a letter published Tuesday in the sports sections of the
Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, Mike and Marian Ilitch
said they were "extremely sorry" the Red Wings did not play
because of the lockout, and thanked the fans for their loyalty.

"The decision by the league to cancel the season until a new
CBA (collective bargaining agreement) was agreed upon was an
extremely difficult one, but necessary for the long-term success of
the NHL," the Ilitches wrote. "We know how disappointing this
necessary action was, and we share in your frustration."

The NHL last month became the first major sports league in North
America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.