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Ilitch Charities honor 8 youth players

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

DETROIT – Ilitch Charities today awarded $20,000 in scholarships to eight student-athletes from the Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL). The students were honored at a ceremony at Hockeytown Cafe in Detroit, emceed by Ken Daniels, play-by-play announcer for the Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit television.

Ilitch Charities chairman Christopher Ilitch presented the scholarships to the following honorees:

Abigale Belcrest of Harrison Township, Mich.; Vaughn Birchler of Plymouth, Mich.; Erik Gouin of Kimball, Mich.; Abigail Harris of Bowling Green, Ohio; Joseph Kristofik of Farmington Hills, Mich.; Austin Loshinskie of Howell, Mich.; Taylor Marchin of Algonac, Mich.; and Maryanne Menefee of Lansing, Mich.

“Little Caesars youth hockey players represent some of the best young hockey talent in the country,” said Ilitch, who is also president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “This year’s scholarship recipients are not only leaders on the ice, but also in their classrooms and community. Through sponsorship of our youth hockey programs we have had the opportunity to help these young athletes reach their goals in the sport of hockey. Now through Ilitch Charities, we have the honor of investing in their educational aspirations as well.”

Since 2002, Ilitch Charities has honored outstanding Little Caesars hockey players with scholarships toward the college or university of their choice. More than $175,000 in college scholarships has been awarded to nearly 80 students over the last decade. To qualify, students must maintain a 3.0 or above high school grade point average, be a current member of a Little Caesars AAA or LCAHL team and have plans to attend a college or university within the next two years.

The Little Caesars AAA Hockey Club and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League are two of the country’s most respected youth hockey programs. Nearly 15,000 male and female athletes across the Midwest participate in the leagues. Thousands of players have moved on to play collegiate hockey and more than 100 have played in the National Hockey League (NHL). Michael and Marian Ilitch began supporting youth hockey in the 1960s, shortly after they founded Little Caesars Pizza.

About Ilitch Charities: Ilitch Charities is a non-profit organization that invests in our community’s future by supporting innovative, collaborative and measurable programs in the areas of community development, human services, education and recreation through contributions from the Ilitch companies, their colleagues and the generosity of others. Affiliates of Ilitch Charities include the Detroit Tigers Foundation, the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Little Caesars Amateur Sports Foundation. For more information, visit

Ilitch Charities is affiliated with the companies owned by Michael and/or Marian Ilitch, long-time Detroit entrepreneurs. Ilitch companies include: Ilitch Holdings Inc., Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, Champion Foods, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Little Caesar Pizza Kits Fundraising Program, Olympia Development and Uptown Entertainment. Additionally, Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers Inc. and Marian Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino Hotel.

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