This year’s Los Angeles Kings Fan Fest will take place on Sunday, which marks the 10th anniversary of one of the darkest days in Kings – not to mention United States – history. Two Kings scouts named Garnet “Ace” Bailey and Mark Bavis boarded an aircraft that was supposed to take them to Los Angeles for training camp but instead ended up being the second of two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Former Kings general manager Dave Taylor called it the toughest day he’s had in the hockey business and maybe the toughest day he’s ever experienced overall.
After all those years, the team still honors the memories of those two scouts in many ways. Players wear decals on their helmets to pay tribute to Bailey and Bavis while portraits of both front office members are displayed in the Kings’ offices. The team named their mascot Bailey in honor of Garnet “Ace” Bailey.
This year’s Hockey Fan fest event will take place tomorrow, so it makes sense that the event will honor their memories and benefit charitable causes.
This year, the Kings will hold their annual Hockey Fest fan event on Sept. 11. Proceeds from an autographed-jersey auction will go to benefit the Widows, Orphans and Disabled Firefighters Fund and the day will start with a tribute to Bailey and Bavis.
The Los Angeles Times provides some more details about the charitable work that is being done in honor of Bailey and Bavis.
Inspired by love, the Bavises and Baileys determined to honor their lost loved ones. The Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation provides mentoring and college scholarships to kids. The Ace Bailey Foundation renovated the neonatal intensive care unit at the Floating Hospital for Children at Boston’s Tufts Medical Center and brightened the environment for families of ailing kids. Diminishing donations nearly closed the foundation in 2008, but Pothier, its executive director, and Katherine Bailey felt their work wasn’t done.
You can visit the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation here and the Ace Bailey Foundation by following this link. Bavis’ family is also pursuing a law suit against United Airlines, which you can read a little more about in this story.
While Sunday will bring back some painful memories for members of the Kings organization as well as people from around the world, it’s important to try to find ways to make positive things come from even the most negative moments. It seems like the Kings organization and the Bavis and Bailey families are doing their best to make that happen.
Here is a video tribute from the Kings.
Once the Lightning and Capitals wrapped things up after a Lightning victory in overtime in Washington, D.C. it was merely clearing the decks for the biggest news of the year and beyond as far as the rest of the real world is concerned as not too far from Verizon Center, President Barack Obama announced that United States military forces in Pakistan killed terrorist Osama Bin Laden.
With news like that, it’s tough to take a step away and talk about hockey because it’s a day for the families affected by the September 11, 2001 including those in the hockey world can finally have some closure. Closure because the monster behind the attacks on that fateful day is finally gone. We wish peace to those families and pray that this news can ease their grieving hearts nearly ten years later.
1. Garnet “Ace” Bailey and Mark Bavis are two of those from the hockey world who were on Flight 175 out of Boston destined for Los Angeles but instead were one of the two flights crashed into the World Trade Center. Bailey and Bavis were working as a scouts for the Los Angeles Kings and the former Bruins Stanley Cup winner was much beloved by those who played or worked with him. May peace come to their families and may people also keep Bavis’ memory alive through the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation.
2. One guy we’ll be curious to hear from is Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau was ticketed to be on Flight 175 out of Boston that morning while he was working for the Kings organization. Boudreau spoke about in his book how coach Andy Murray changed his flight to leave on September 10th. It’s an incredible twist of fate for Boudreau and hearing what he’s got to say about this historic news will be worth the sound byte.
3. If nothing else, this kind of news has been the sort of thing that Twitter was made for. With many of the hockey media being in Washington, D.C. tonight for the Caps-Lightning playoff game seeing updates and stories from reporters and writers like Elliotte Friedman from CBC, Greg Wyshynski “Puck Daddy” from Yahoo! Sports, Stephen Whyno from The Washington Times, Craig Custance from The Sporting News, and Caps blog Russian Machine Never Breaks all on the scene to see what happens when history breaks in front of them helped to bring it all home for those of us not in D.C. or at Ground Zero in Manhattan. I can’t encourage you all more to check out the write-ups linked there from everyone. If you somehow managed to ignore this news in lieu of hockey coverage, they’ve all found ways to tie it all together beautifully on the scene.
4. Two teams we’re disappointed to see out of the playoffs now after this news has happened: The Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. Pardon us for our American pride here but getting one more anthem from Jim Cornelison in United Center in Chicago and anyone singing the anthem at Madison Square Garden after having all this happen last night would be two incredible sights. Here’s to hoping we see a Game 5 in Washington and Caps owner Ted Leonsis pulls out all the stops to help honor America.
5. Make sure to thank anyone and everyone you know who went into the Armed Forces both American and Canadian. The events around the world, especially those follow 9/11, made their commitment to their countries that much more difficult and their sacrifices were not in vain.