I was not planning to watch the pre-game ceremony before the Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers game to open the NHL season tonight, but it was on as I was getting ready for dinner so I was watching all the speeches hoping that they would get over and drop the puck to get the game started.
I changed my mind when they began preparations to raise the Bruins' Stanley Cup 2011 banner and members of the last Bruins team to win the Stanley Cup in 1972 began entering the arena. The Bruins had not won the Stanley Cup prior to 2011 since 1970 and 1972.
As Bobbie Orr, Johnny Bucyk, John McKenzie, Ken Hodge, Derek Sanderson, and others performed the honors, I couldn't help but remember how much fun it was to watch the Bruins in the early 1970s. They were not only very, very good but they were incredibly fun to watch as well.
Another member of the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup winning teams of the Bruins was not there but he was represented and honored by the presence of his son, Todd Bailey. Garnet "Ace" Bailey was not a star hockey player but he was a good role player on those very good hockey teams. I always remembered him and his name because my Dad's nickname among his buddies at work was "Ace" also. Ace Bailey had a very successful career as a hockey player and also as an NHL scout when his playing career ended.
It was his position as Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings that caused Ace Bailey to be a passenger on United Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles on September 11, 2001 that was crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center by al-Qaeda terrorists. (Former Fort Wayne Komets player and Coach Rob Laird has been a scout for the LA Kings for 18 years so he was an associate of Ace Bailey at the time of the 9-11 attacks.)
I still think of the 9-11 attacks often but especially now since the tenth anniversary was just last month. During that remembrance and every other time that I recall the 9-11 attacks I always have and always will think of Garnet "Ace" Bailey because he is the one victim of 9-11 that I knew of prior to the attacks. I thank him for his part in those special Boston Bruin teams and for his wonderful career as a player and scout of a sport that I love.
God rest your soul and bless you and your family, Ace.