Eleven years ago today, Kings scouts Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis were flying to Los Angeles for the start of training camp. They never made it: Both were aboard United Flight 175, one of two planes hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Bailey, who played in the NHL and scouted for the Edmonton Oilers during their dynasty years, had been with the Kings for eight years. I always looked forward to training camp because Bailey would sit in the stands and tell stories and entertain writers, broadcasters and fans with his tales.
I didn’t know Bavis well but I know he was highly regarded in the organization though he was there only a short time. In his only draft working with the team he recommended two players who are still in the NHL: Mike Cammalleri and David Steckel. His family pursued a lawsuit against United and the airline’s security contractor but settled about a year ago.
The families of each man established a foundation in their loved one’s memory: the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation (www.acebailey.org) and the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation (www.markbavisleadershipfoundation.org).
The Kings honor them each year by awarding the Ace Bailey Memorial award to their most inspirational player and give the Mark Bavis Memorial award to the best newcomer.
In addition, one Kings fan remembered both men in a touching fashion last June, after the Kings won the Stanley Cup, leaving a Kings cap beside their names at the ground zero memorial site.