Saturday, September 09, 2006

2,996 - A loving memory of "Ace".


I am a hockey fan. It dominates the better part of my life, especially between the months of September and June. After the calendar flips past Labor Day, I know that training camp is but a few short days away, and I eagerly anticipate it beginning, as I know that the official start of the season will be upon us before we know it.

Five years ago, the start of training camp was much like the start of any other training camp in any other previous year. Players and team officials traveled to join their teams, fans (like me) eagerly anticipated the start of a new season, and all was well. We thought.

It was September 11, 2001. The New York Rangers were in the Big Apple readying for their first skate after too long of a summer, and the Los Angeles Kings were going to start camp on the 12th. Most other teams would take up their first official practices within the next 3 or 4 days.

Two scouts for the Los Angeles Kings were departing Boston for Los Angeles on this beautiful morning. Mark Bavis and Garnet “Ace” Bailey. Getting ready to go on about their lives and their jobs, just like everyone else that day.

They never made it.

They were passengers on United Flight 175 that morning. They were 2 of the 2,996 that my fellow bloggers and I are trying to memorialize on this, the 5th anniversary of September 11th.

I am honored, deeply honored, to be memorializing Garnet “Ace” Bailey.

Garnet Edward "Ace" Bailey was born on June 14, 1948, in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. I’ve heard that the only person to call him by his given name was his first professional hockey coach, famed Boston Bruins bench boss Harry Sinden

I was aware of him even prior to September 11, 2001. He was once upon a time a player for my hometown Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central Hockey League. In the age when those Blazers were the farm team for the Boston Bruins, he spent 45 games playing for and in “my” city over 2 seasons. I wasn’t even close to being alive during those seasons, but in my heart, you’re “once a Blazer, always a Blazer”, so I’ve always had a special place in my heart for anyone that has played here, including Ace.

“Ace” had bigger fish to fry, though, and they weren’t going to jump in the pan here in Oklahoma City. Most of his hockey career was spent in the NHL, over 14 seasons, playing for the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, and Washington Capitals, and the Edmonton Oilers, then of the World Hockey Association. He had the joy of playing with an unimaginable cast of future Hall of Famers over those 14 seasons, spanning Bobby Orr to Wayne Gretzky, and countless others in between.

He scored 107 goals and registered 171 assists in his 568 NHL games, finding the opportunity to work in 2 Stanley Cups (with Boston) in those 14 seasons. Although much of his playing career was spent on the bench, he was known as a fearless protector of his teammates. In hockey, you have your roles, and “Ace” knew his. Look out for the stars, and keep them shining brightly.

After retiring as a player, he coached for a couple of years in the Edmonton minor-league system, then found a new calling – professional scout. First with Edmonton for 13 years – where he earned 5 more Stanley Cups in the front office, then following Wayne Gretzky, to Los Angeles where he would spend the next 8 years searching for the “next big thing” to bring over to the Kings.

I knew of “Ace” because of hockey. I know he had a life away from that, however. He was married to Katherine, and they had a son named Todd. He loved cooking. He loved to be around others and have a good time. I’ve heard he always had a smile on his face, and that he loved participating in charity events that benefited children. He loved giving, of himself and his time. I’ve heard he made his autograph resemble a smile, with a curved cross-bar in the “A” and 2 dots. Sometimes, it’s the small things that mean the most, like this.

His legacy is now his foundation, which you can see at www.acebailey.com and “Ace’s Place”, the playroom at Boston’s Floating Hospital for Children. His widow Katherine said in a recent interview with ESPN.com, that, "It's always been important for me to hold onto Ace and hold onto him tight. You don't forget about it. It doesn't go away. Ace had such an incredible spirit. He had this intense need to make everyone around him happy. His spirit is here. We've kept his spirit alive in this room."

On this, the 5th anniversary, please keep not only Ace’s spirit alive, but that of the other 2,995 souls we lost as well. Not all were as close to greatness or in the public eye as Ace, but they all were someone’s Ace Bailey. Their smile, their incredible spirit, their spouse, their parent, their child…

Thank you for reading about Ace. If you can find the time, please read more tributes that others have so lovingly created. You can find their links at 2996 .

Above all, don't ever forget. Don't forget them, but don't dwell on what happened or how it happened. Remember who they were and what they all meant to us, but not how they left us. Remember what they left us.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I've been away for a while...

I wanted to come back to this; to give it a try again. To try to make something out of this.

There is also another reason. A very, very special to me reason, which I'll reveal as soon as it's for certain.

More later...I hope.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

An "A" for Avalanche...

and an "A" for AWESOME!!!

Anyone that knows me, be it in real life or just cyber life, knows that I am a die-hard, huge hockey fan. And that my favorite team is the Colorado Avalanche. I have lived and died with this team since before they moved to CO, way back when they were still the Quebec Nordiques.

Well, thanks to a good friend, also way back when, I got interested in a little-known rookie player named Ian Laperriere. Way back then, he was a barely-used fourth line fighter wearing number 22 for the St. Louis Blues. I've followed his career, from St. Louis, to the New York Rangers, and then out to the Los Angeles Kings for the last, I don't know, 11 years.

Well, I had always hoped that he could find his way to the Avs. You know, my favorite player meets my favorite team, then complete happiness ensues? I never thought it would actually happen, as he finally climbed to the ranks of an alternate captain with the Kings. Then came that wonderful day-after-Canada Day (July 2), that I heard the news...He was finally, for some strange, unknown reason, a member of my Avs. I was ecstatic.

Then came the damn lockout. No hockey. No Avs. No Ian playing for the Avs. Nothing.

I've waited, and waited, and waited. And boy, was it worth waiting for. This year has started out wonderfully for #14. And as a fan, I have thoroughly loved watching. In way less than half of the season, he's already hit double digits in goals scored. He's still the Avs leader in PIMs, but that's just the nature that I've always seen. I'm astonished with how well he's played so far this season.

Somewhere along the lines in L.A., this kid grew up and turned into a bona fide hockey player.

So, what did I mean about the "A" in my title? Well, last night, I tune in for my favorite match up of all time, my Avs against my favorite goaltender (since Patrick Roy retired), Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. When suddenly, I see an "A" on the chest of #14, Ian Laperriere. Not only did he make a team like Colorado, but he's now been appointed an alternate captain yet again in his professional career. I was beyond thrilled. This is just awesome. With the talent that is on the Avs, this guy, this no longer barely used fourth liner, has acheived the rank of alternate captain.

Look out, NHL. Whether anyone wants to admit it, he's good. Ian Laperriere is damn good. And he's been hiding for a looooong time. No more.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

...And we have liftoff.....

My first blog post.

Hmmm...This might be interesting.

First of all, the title. Yes, I am. Very. God only knows what could and will end up here. I'm a hockey nut. I love scrapbooking, card making, paper arts, art journaling, and altered book making. My parents have troubles, and they look to me to fix their problems. I have a wonderful husband, and 3 *sometimes* cool stepkids. I have a job, and quite a few co-workers, that I hate with a purple passion. I am constantly trying to do 78 bazillion things at once....Hence, "Scatterbrained." Truthfully, it's a miracle I haven't found myself in a padded room at the nuthouse yet.

Anyway, I hope to have a little bit of everything, and of course a whole lot of nothing on here. I've wanted to do this for a while, and now that my computer at home is back up and running, well, now seemed to be as good a time as ever.

If only I can keep it up...... :-)