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Thread: 16 Years: Ace and Mark Remembrance

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    Default 16 Years: Ace and Mark Remembrance

    Without getting political, I thought it would be appropriate to remember these two today.

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    It seems hard to believe, since the memories are so indelible, that it happened that long ago.

    R I P Ace and Mark.

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    Rest in peace, gentlemen.

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    I am friends with Ray Bennett, former assistant coach to Andy Murray and I hope he wouldn't mind me posting this but he posted this on Sept. 11, 2016 on Facebook and again yesterday. I think it puts some things in very good perspective from someone who knew Ace and Mark very well.

    Today is September 11, 2016.., we all have our stories & recollections of that date 15 yrs ago. I was living & coaching in Los Angeles, we were prepping for training camp to begin as scouts, players etc were all arriving for the start of camp. As I was dressing to leave for the rink, my wife called me into the living room to see as the Today Show was showing video of a plane running into 1 of the World Trade Centre Towers. I don't recall thinking terrorism, but more what a mistake by a pilot to misjudge his flight pattern so badly..., why we would we think terrorism. Shocking as it was, I finished getting ready & went to the rink with my thoughts more on what I needed to do for start of camp as opposed to the awfulness of what had happened in New York. But almost immediately as I arrived at the rink, all the trainers, other coaches & some players began to watch & speculate on what was happening, the 2nd plane was soon to hit the tower & I remember the suggestion by someone, maybe from news coverage, that it was an organized terrorist attack.., if NY can be attacked so too could LA?!

    And then it happened, I think it was our head Eqpt Mngr came into the coaches office & said "we're waiting to hear if Ace (Bailey) & Mark (Bavis) are on 1 of those flights".........

    Ace Bailey was an experienced pro scout, a retired NHL player & the best teller of stories I've met. He was a friend to everyone & he had the incredible ability to make all he met feel welcome & comfortable. His experiences were so incredible, he could talk of playing, he could talk of this young star Gretzky who he "mentored" when Wayne went to Edmonton in the WHA, he had coached, he'd been an amateur scout, a pro scout, different teams, different experiences, was a husband, a dad & I would imagine if you had played with him, he was the best teammate ever. I was not a retired NHL player, didn't have the experiences he'd had & other than being from Western Canada, we really had no common bonds..., except hockey. From the 1st time I shook his hand when I arrived in LA 2 yrs prior, he engaged me & made me feel like we'd been friends for years. Everyone knew Ace, & he clearly had many best friends, I was not one of his inner circle, nor should I have been..., we didn't have the length of time together for that to be the case & for me to earn that with Ace & once camp broke, we hardly see the scouts..., but he never treated me like anything except as if I was 1 of his best friends. That was Ace Bailey in my little world. I miss him certainly..., but our sport & humanity misses him greatly.

    Mark Bavis was at the other end of the experience spectrum. He'd retired as a player after his collegiate career & a short time as a pro. He was learning the trade as an amateur scout but there was something really special about Mark. He too was really engaging, loved to talk hockey, had that all too rare quality of being able to be in a room & offer something when appropriate, but knew he could learn more by listening than just talking to hear himself talk. He was exceptionally bright & was quickly demonstrating he had the unique ability to evaluate talent AND the intangibles. At the NHL draft held in South Beach, Florida the prior June, Mark & I for some reason seemed to connect, spent a lot of time talking hockey, shared a "few" beers & had struck a strong friendship. I was really looking forward to seeing him at camp.

    I'll never forget the feeling I had when we learned Ace & Mark were on United flight 175 which had struck tower 2, 17 mins after the 1st tower had been struck. I, like so many others who've said the same, believe Ace & Mark along with others did what ever they could to try & stop the terrorists once they knew what was happening.

    I've been back to the WTC memorials a few times & have thought a lot about Ace & Mark, and the many others who perished. Time passes, the world changes, the politics of today, the problems in the world, our own personal issues & so on & so on, but I made the promise along time ago to Ace & Mark & I'm proud to say I've kept it..., it's simple but important to me because it helps shape me daily.., I promised I wouldn't forget....

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