Number of People Nice Enough to Stop By....

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Below is a repost from last year.  I really hate it that I have to post another "downer" of an article again, but at the same time, it's important to stop and remember moments like this.


Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't pay my respects to two great souls who gave their lives to the game as part of the 2,977 victims of the 9/11 attacks nine years ago today.  United Airlines Flight 175 carried Los Angeles Kings scouts Garnet "Ace" Bailey and Mark Bavis.  Old time Caps fans know Bailey for his four seasons with the Caps in the late '70s.  If you read Coach Boudreau's book, you would know that he was supposed to be on that plane as well, but was asked to stay an extra day for a Kings' developmental camp.
It's both strange and cruel how the fates work out these things that one team benefits and another loses out.

In any case, these two were part of a terrible day, one that should never be forgotten.  But I write to celebrate their lives, not so much to lament their deaths.  This is because they both made a contribution to the game we all love.  Bailey put his stamp on the game mainly as a player, winning two Stanley Cups with the Boston Bruins.  He went on to provide leadership to a scrappy Washington Capitals team that worked its way to respectability after its first four years.  But his leadership skills truly shined when a young Wayne Gretzky was coming through the pro ranks. Bailey was there for the Great One's first pro season with the Edmonton Oilers. Gretzky credits Bailey in his autobiography as being a good friend as well as being a mentor to him during the waning days of the WHA.  I would say most likely this trait helped him land the job as head of pro scouting for the Kings.

Bavis, while not as well known as Bailey, had a strong career in his own right.  In his playing days, he played for the legendary Jack Parker at Boston University.  He went to the Frozen Four all four years he was there.  He was then drafted into the New York Rangers system.  After knocking around in the minors for a while he turned to coaching, eventually becoming an assistant with the Harvard University men's team.  He was hired as Ace Bailey's assistant in 2000.  He is so well thought of today that, if you do a Google search on his name there are at least a half-dozen memorial pages for him.  His legacy lives on in his surviving family--his twin brother Mike is now an associate coach at their alma mater--Boston U.  His legacy will also live on in the charity created in his name the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation.  If nothing else, this man is a hero to me because he dedicated his life to teaching young people the game he loved--hockey.

God rest their wonderful souls.  The sport and the world was made better because of them.

Until next time, folks, I'm still the Blueliner on Point.  Catch you next power play shift.

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