“Ace” Bailey – June 13, 1948 – September 11, 2001

Ace Bailey would spend parts of two seasons with the Red Wings - Photo: Ace Bailey Foundation

The tribute is small, but it is worth its weight in significance.

Yours truly spent four seasons covering hockey at Boston’s TD Garden before landing in the Motor City. On the press level of that building, located high, high, high above the ice, two things immediately stand out to first time visitors.

1) The best dessert cart in the sport, the envy of journalists in 29 other markets
2) The small plaque that marks Ace Bailey’s seat

As a Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Kings, Garnet Edward “Ace” Bailey was a regular in that press box. It was a hop, skip and a jump away from the team’s minor league operations in Manchester, New Hampshire, not to mention a short drive away from his Lynnfield, Massachusetts home.

Bailey is best known as a member of two Stanley Cup winning clubs with the Boston Bruins, scoring a crucial goal against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the 1972 Stanley Cup championship series. He spent two seasons sporting the Winged Wheel, a move that former Detroit coach Johnny Wilson told the Detroit Free Press, added muscle to his team. Upon retirement, Bailey played a key role in the Oilers 1980’s dynasty, most of which came by serving as an advance scout.

Ace Bailey, along with fellow Kings scout Mark Bavis, were killed when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. A moment that defined a generation had taken two of hockey’s own.

In the years that followed, Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, a coach in Manchester at the time, revealed that he too was supposed to be on that flight, but was asked by Kings GM Andy Murray to be at a pre-training camp meeting in Los Angeles a day earlier. Boudreau tried to convince Bailey to change his flight and join him, but Ace didn’t want to hit the team with the $750 bill to do so.

Since that dreadful day, Bailey has been memorialized in many ways, including that plaque in the TD Garden Press Box. There is also a foundation that helps improve hospital programs for children. And the Kings honored Bailey by naming their ‘Most Inspirational Player’ award, and the team mascot after Ace.

Two other facts you may not have known about Bailey.

  • Bailey was Wayne Gretzky’s first roommate in Edmonton.
  • Ace met his wife Kathy, a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, on a flight during his Bruins days.

None of us will ever forget where we were on September 11th, but is also important that we never forget who we lost. Though I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bailey, seeing that plaque in the TD Garden Press Box makes me remember that day, its significance and what it meant at a very personal level.

It is a small token of appreciation, but one that will never be forgotten.

Jake Duhaime is the Manager of Social Networking for the Detroit Wings. Follow him on Twitter – @jakeduhaime

About Jake Duhaime

Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings
This entry was posted in Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to “Ace” Bailey – June 13, 1948 – September 11, 2001

  1. Thomas Bist says:

    Very nice and heartfelt. It was sad on that day that we lost so many great people. They had no control on there last day here

  2. a nice tribute to Ace; tho I had not known of him in the hockey world, it puts a personal face on one of those we lost on that horrible day in history.

  3. John Hendershott says:

    I will always remember the smile of ACE when I was a youth watching the Bruins play. This is the 1st time I’ve heard of his passing on that flight. I was simply looking up any words of a dear friend I lost that day. The world is a lesser place with people like Ace gone.
    John H.

  4. Mike says:

    Nice sorry about B’s #14 Ace Bailey. Hate to correct you though, he wasn’t the son of the first “Ace” Bailey (Maple Leafs) actually no relation at all.

  5. Mike says:

    Meant to say Nice Story

  6. Pingback: United 93 families dedicate Sept. 11 memorial | StopK.com - Your Dose of Daily News

  7. Pingback: Lady Gaga Describes Her Love For New York On 9/11 Anniversary | StopK.com - Your Dose of Daily News

  8. Pingback: NY arts world commemorates Sept. 11 in music, film | StopK.com - Your Dose of Daily News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s