Remembering Ace Bailey
It’s hard to believe that it has really been 11 years since 9/11–and that Sept. 11 falls on a Tuesday again, just like it did that horrible day. Everyone has their stories that they’ll never forget about where they were when they heard the news (seventh grade English class for me), but the effects of the attacks were so wide-reaching and among those thousands of people who died in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania was a former member of the Boston Bruins.
Garnet Bailey, also known as Ace Bailey, began his career by winning the Memorial Cup in 1966 with the Edmonton Oil Kings after tasting the Memorial Cup finals a year previously. Drafted by the Bruins in 1966, he joined up with them in 1968 and was on the team for both the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup championships.
Over the course of his career, Bailey also played for the Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals and Edmonton Oilers. While with the Oilers, he mentored a young rookie named Wayne Gretzky. When his playing career ended after ten seasons and more than 500 games, he stayed within the Oilers organization, first as a scout for their CHL affiliate and then as an Edmonton scout during the Oilers’ good times of the 1980s. He added to his two Boston Stanley Cup rings by earning five more with Edmonton during that era and his name was engraved on the Cup for three of those five.
He continued his work as a scout, being named the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, and was working in that capacity in 2001. He was on Flight 175, which crashed into the World Trade Center on that awful morning. The Kings’ lion mascot, Bailey, is named in his memory. Denis Leary, a big hockey fan, wore a Bailey memorial shirt on one episode of his show “Rescue Me”. The Dropkick Murphys mention Bailey’s name, along with fellow Flight 175 passenger and Kings scout Mark Bavis, in the song “Your Spirit’s Alive”. Today, the Ace Bailey Children’s Foundation raises money to help hospitalized children, infants and their families.
Bailey’s name is inscribed on Panel S-3 of the National September 11 Memorial in New York City. When the Kings won the Stanley Cup this past June, a New York-based Kings fan named David Krasne went to the memorial on the day of the Kings’ parade to pay his respects and put his championship hat between Bailey’s and Bavis’ inscriptions, as seen above.
“As a kings fan in NYC, I couldn’t let Mark Bavis or Ace Bailey miss the festivities,” Krasne said via Twitter.
May Bailey, Bavis and the others whose lives were lost on that tragic day rest in peace.